TO ENJOY THEMSELVES
AND TO SEE THE
m HenryMayhew;aacd GeorgeCruikshamic
LONDON : DAVID BOOUE, 80, FLEET STKEET.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS,
DESIGNED AND ETCHED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
all the world going to the great exhibition Frontispiece.
looking for lodgings............ 51
london crammed and manchester deserted .... 59
the opera boxes during the time of the great exhibition ................ 117
the opening of the great bee-hive....... 136
the first shilling dat............ 153
some of the drolleries of the great exhibition 160
odds and ends, in, out, and about the great exhibi-
dispersion of the works of all nations..... 238
MR. AND MRS. CURSTY SANDBOYS.
" Come, Nichol, and gi'e ue tby cracks, I seed te gang down to the smiddj, I've fodder'd the naigs and the nowt, And wanted to see thee'at did e. Ay, Andrew, lad! draw in a stnil, And gie us a shek o' thy daddle; I got aw the news far and nar,
Sae set off as fast's e could waddle."
Nichol the Newtmongtr.Bo but Akdkbsoh.
THE GREAT EXHIBITION was about to attract the sight-seers of all the worldthe sight-seen, who make up nine-tenths of the human family. The African had mounted his ostrich. The Crisp of the Desert had announced an excursion caravan from Zoolu to Fez. The Yakutskian Shillibeer had already started the first reindeer omnibus to Novogorod. Penny cargoes were steaming down Old Nile, in Egyptian Daylights ;" and Moonlights," whole floating from the Pimjaub, and congregating down the Indus, Scindian "Bridesmaids" and Bachelors" came racing up the Red Sea, with Burmese "Watermen, Nob. 9 and 12," calling at the piers of Muscat and Aden, to pick up passengers for the Isthmusat two-pence a-head.
The Esquimaux had just purchased his new "registered paletot" of seal-skin from the great "sweater" of the Arctic Regions. The Hottentot Venus had already added to the graceful ebullitions of nature, the charms of a Parisian crinoline. The Yemassee was busy blueing his cheeks with the rouge of the backwoods. The Truefit of New Zealand had dressed the full buzz wig, and cut and curled the horn of the chief of the Papuas. The Botocudo had ordered a new pair of wooden ear-rings. The Maripoosan had japanned his teeth with the best Brunswick Black Odonto. The Cingalese was hard at work with a Kalydor of Cocoa-Nut-Oil, polishing himself up like a boot; and the King of Dahomeyan ebony Adamin nankeen gaiters
and epaulets, was wending his way towards London to tender his congratulations to the Prince Contort.
Nor was the commotio* confined dona to the extremes of the worldthe metropolis f Great Britain was also in a prodigious excitement. Alexis Soyer was preparing to open a restaurant of all nations, where the universe might dine, from sixpence to a hundred guineas, off cartes ranging from pickled whelks to nightingales' tonguesfrom the rats a la Tartare of the Chinese, to the "turkey and tnrfles" of the Parisian gourmandfrom the "long sixes, au naturel" of the Russian, to the stewed Missionary of the Marquesas," or the "cold roast Bishop" of New Zealand. Here, too, was to be a park with Swiss cottages, wherein the sober Turk might quaff bis Dublin stoat; and Chinese pagodas, from whose golden galleries the poor German student, dreaming of the undis-coverable noumena of Kant, might smoke his penny Pickwick, sip his Arabian chicory, and in a fit of absence, think of his father-land and pocket the sugar.
St. Paul's and Westminster Abbey (" in consequence of the increased demand") were about to double their prices of admission, when M. Jullien, ever ready to deserve the patronage of a discerning public," made the two great English cathedrals so tempting an offer that they did not think themselves justified in refusing it." And there, on alternate nights, were shortly to be exhibited, to admiring millions, the crystal curtain, the stained glass windows illuminated with gas, and the statues lighted up with rose-coloured lamps; the Black Band of his Majesty of Tsjaddi, with a hundred additional bones;" the monster Jew's harp; the Euhurdy-gurdychon; the Musicians of Ton goose; the Singers of the Maldives; the Glee Minstrels f Paraguay; the Troubadours of far Vancouver; the Snow Ball Family from the Gold Coast; the Canary of the Samoiedes; the The-ban Brothers; and, expressly engaged for the occasion," the celebrated Band of Robbers from the Desert.
Barnum, too, bad "thrown up" Jenny Lind, and entered into an agreement with the Poor Law Commissioners to pay the Poor Rates of all England during one year for the sole possession of Somerset House, as a Grand Hotel for all Nations," under the highly explanatory title of the Xenodokeion Panooshopoutanioon ;" where each guest was to be provided with a bed, boudoir, and banquet, together with one hour's use per diem of a valet, and a private chaplain (according to the religious opinions of the indivkhial); the privilege of free admission to all the theatres and green-rooms; the right of tntrie to the Privy Council and the Palace; a knife and fork, and spittoon at pleasure, at the tables of the nobility; a seat with nightcap and pillow in the House of Commons, an a cigar on the Bench with the Judges; the free use of the columns of The Times" news-
Sper, and the right of abasing therein their friends and hosts of the y before; the privilege of paying visits in the Lord Mayor's state carriage (with the freedom of the City of London), and of using the Goldsmiths' state barge for aquatic excursions; and finally, the
MB. AND HM. C0MTY SANDBOYS.
full right of presentation at the Drawing-room to her most gracious Majesty, and of investiture with the Order of the Garter at discretion, as wall as the prerogative of sitting down, once a week, in rotation, at the dinner table of His Excellency General Tom-Thumb. These advantages Mr. Barnam, to use his own language, had "determined upon offering to a generous and enlightened American public at one anilliafl per head per daynumbers alone enabling him to complete his engagements."
While these gigantic preparations for the gratification of foreign visitors were being made, the whole of the British Provinces likewise were preparing extensively to enjoy themselves. Every city was arranging some "monster train" to shoot the whole of its inhabitants, at a halfpenny per ton, into the lodging-houses of London. All the houses of York were on tiptoe, in the hope of shaking hands in Hyde Park with all the houses of Lancaster. Beds, Bucks, Notts, Wilts, Hants, Hunts, and Herts were respectively cramming their carpet bags anticipation of "a week in London." Not a village, a hamlet, a borough, a township, or a wick, but had each its shining club, for providing their inhabitants with a three days' journey to London, a matt rags under the dry arches of the Adelphi, and tickets for soup ad libitum. John o'Groata was anxiously looking forward to the time when he was to clutch the Land's End to his bosom,the Isle of Man was panting to take the Isle of Dogs by the hand, and welcome Thanet, Sheppy, and Skye to the gaieties of a London Hfo, the North Foreland was preparing for a friendly stroll up Regent-street with Holy-Head on his armand the man at Eddystone Lighthouse could see the distant glimmer of a hope of shortly setting eyes upon the long looked for Buoy at the Nore.
Brads haw's Railway Guide had swelled into an encyclopaedia, and Masters and Bachelors of Arts who had taken distinguished degrees," were daily advertising, to perfect persons in the understanding of the Time Tables, in six easy lessons for one guinea. Omnibus conductors were undergoing a Polyglott course on the Hamiltonian system, to enable them to abuse all foreigners in their native tongues; the "Atlases" were being made extra strong, so that they might be able to bear the whole world on top of them; and the proprietors of the Camberwell and Camden Town 'Busses were eagerly watching for the time when English, French, Prussians and Belgians should join their Wellingtons and Bluchers on the heights of Waterloo !"
Such was the state of the world, the continent, the provinces, and the metropolis. Nor was the pulse that beat so throbbingly at Ber-mondsey, Bow, Bayswater, Brixton, Brompton, Brentford, and Black-heath, without a response on the banks of Crummock Water and the tranquil meadows of Buttermere.
He, who has passed all his life amid the chaffering of Cheapside, or the eeaseless toil of Bethnal Green, or the luxurious ease of Belgravia, who has seen no mountain higher than Saffron Hill,has stood beside no waters purer than the Thameswhose eye has rested upon no
spot more green than the enclosure of Leicester Square,who knows no people more primitive than the quaker corn-factors of Mark Lane, and nothing more truthful than the impartial inquiries" of the Morning Chronicle, or more kind-hearted than the writings of The Economist,who has drunk of no philosophy deeper than that of the Penny Cyclopaedia,who has felt no quietude other than that of the City on a Sunday,sighed for no home but that which he can reach for threepence all the way," and wished for no last resting-place but a dry vault and a stucco cenotaph in the theatrical Golgothas of Kensal and of Highgate;such a man can form no image of the peace, the simplicity, the truth, and the beauty which aggregate into the perpetual Sabbath that hallows the seclusion about and around the Lake of Buttermere.
Here the knock of the dun never startles the hermit or the student for (thrice blessed spot!) there are no knockers. Here are no bills, to make one dread the coming of the spring, or the summer, or the Christmas, or whatever other festive" season they may fall due upon, for (oh earthly paradise!) there are no tradesmen, andbetter stillno discounters, andgreater boon than allno! not one attorney within nine statute miles of mountain, fell, and morass, to ruffle the serenity of the village inn. Here that sure-revolving tax-gatherer as inevitable and cruel as the Fate in a Grecian tragedynevercomes, with long book and short inkhorn, to convince us it is Lady-daynor Paving," nor Lighting," nor Water," Sewers," nor Poor's," nor Parochials," nor Church," nor County," nor Queen's," nor any other accursed accompaniment of our boasted civilization. Here are no dinner-parties for the publication of plate; no soirees for the exhibition of great acquaintances; no conversaziones for the display of your wisdom, with the full right of boring your friends with your pet theories; nor polkas, nor schottisches, nor Cellarii, for inflaming young heirs into matrimony. Here there are no newspapers at breakfast to stir up your early bile with a grievance, or to render the merchant's morning meal indigestible with the list of bankrupts, or startle the fund-holder with a sense that all security for property ib at an end. Here there are no easy-chair philosophers,not particularly illustrious themselves for a delight in hard labour,to teach us to sweep all who will not work into the dust-bin." Here, too, there are no Harmonic Coalholes, or Cyder Cellars, nor Choreographic Casinos, or Cremornes, or other such night-colleges for youth, where ethics are taught from professional chairs occupied by rapid publicans, or by superannuated melodists, with songs as old as themselves, and as dirty as their linen.
No! According to a statistical investigation recently instituted, to the great alarm of the inhabitants, there were, at the beginning of the ever-to-be-remembered year 1851, in the little village situate between the Lakes of Crummock, and Buttermere, fifteen inhabited houses, one uninhabited, and one church about the size of a cottage; and within three miles of these, in any direction, there was no other habitation whatsoever This little cluster of houses constituted the village called
Buttermere, and consisted of four farm-houses, seven cottages, two Squires' residences, and two Inns.
The census of the nine families who resided in the fifteen houses of Buttermerefor many of these same families were the sons and uephews of the elderswas both curious and interesting. There were the Flemings, the Nelsons, the Cowmans, the Clarks, the Biggs, the Lancasters, the Branthwaites, the Lightfootsand The Jopson, the warm-hearted Bachelor Squire of the place. The remaining Squire also, be it said, a Bachelorhad left, when but a stripling, the cool shades of the peaceful vale for the wars of India. His name was but as a shadow on the memory of the inhabitants; once he had returned withso the story ran" an Arabian horse;" but, his wanderings not being over," as his old housekeeper worded it, with a grave shake of her deep-frilled cap, he had gone back t' hot country with Sir Henry Hardinge to fight t' Sikhs," promising to return again and end lii s days beside his native Lake of Buttermere.
Of the families above cited, two were related by marriage. The Clarks had wedded with the Riggs, and the Cowmans with the Light-foots, so that, in reality, the nine were but seven; and, strange to say, only one of thesethe Clarkswere native to the place. It was curious to trace the causes that had brought the other settlers to so sequestered a spot The greatest distance, however, that any of the immigrants had come from was thirty miles, and some had travelled but three; and yet, after five-and-twenty years' residence, were spoken of by the aboriginal natives as foreigners."
Only one familyButtermere bornhad been known to emigrate, and they had been led off, like the fanners who had immigrated, by the lure of more fertile or more profitable tenancies. Three, however, had become extinct; but two in name only, having been absorbed by marriage of their heiresses, while the other onethe most celebrated of allwas utterly lost, except in tradition, to the place. This was the family of Mary Robinson, the innkeeper's daughter, and the renowned Beauty of Buttermere, known as the lovely, simple-hearted peasant girl, trapped by the dashing forger into marriage, widowed by the hangman, amidst a nation's tears, and yetmust we write it not dying broken hearted,1 nitalas, for the romance and constancy of the sex!remarried ere long to a comfortable farmer, and ending her days, the stout, well-to-do mother of seven bouncing boys and girls.
Mr. Thornton, the eminent populationist, has convinced every thinking mind, that, in order that the increase of the people may be duly regulated, every husband and wife throughout the country should have only one child and a quarter. In Buttermere, alas! (we almost weep as we announce the much-to-be-regretted fact) there are seventeen parents and twenty-nine children, which is at the frightful rate of one child and three-quarters and a fraction, to each husband and wife!
Within the last ten years, too, Buttermere has seen, unappalled, three marriages and nine births. The marriages were all with maids
of the inn, where the memory of Mary Robinson still sheds a traditionary grace over each new chambermaid, and village swains, bewitched by the association, come annually to provide themselves
The deaths of Buttermere tell each their peculiar story. Of the seven who have passed away since the year 1840, one was an old man
who had seen the snow for eighty winters lie upon Red Pike; another was little Mary Clarke, who for eight years only had frolicked in the sunshine of the happy valley. Two were brothers, working at the slate-quarries high up on Honister Craig: one had fallen from a ladder down the precipice sidethe other, a tall and stalwart man, had, in the presence of his two boys, been carried up bodily into the air by a whirlwind, and dashed to death on the craigs below. Of the rest, one died of typhus fever, and another, stricken with the same disease, was brought, at his special request, from a distance of twenty-one miles, to end his days in his mountain-home. The last, a young girl of twenty, perished by her own handthe romance of village life! Mary Lightfoot, wooed by her young master, the farmer's son, of Qatesgarth, sat till morning awaiting his return from Keswick, whither he had gone to court another. Through the long, lone night, the misgivings of her heart had grown by daylight into certainty. The false youth came back with other kisses on his lip, and angry words for her. Life lost its charm for Mary, and she could see no peace bat in the grave.*
Nor are the other social facts of Buttermere less interesting.
According to a return obtained by two gentlemen, who represented themselves as members of the London Statistical Society, and who, after a week's enthusiasm and hearty feeding at the Fish Inn, suddenly disappeared, leaving behind them the Occupation Abstract of the inhabitants and a geological hammer,according to these gentlemen, we repeat, the seventy-two Buttermerians may be distributed as follows: two innkeepers, four farmers, (including one statesman and one sinecure constable,) nine labourers (one of them a miner, one a quarrier, and one the parish-clerk), twelve farm-servants, seventeen
* The cuatom of night courtship is peculiar to the county of Cumberland and some of the districts of South Wales. The following note, explanatory of the circumstance, is takes from the last edition of The Cumberland Ballads of Robert Anderson," a work to be found, well thumbed, in the pocket of every Cumbrian peasant-girl and mountain shepherd:"A Cumbrian peasant pays his addresses to .his sweetheart Oaring the silence and solemnity of midnight. Anticipating her kindness, he will travel ten or twelve miles, over hills, bogs, moors, and morasses, undisoouraged by the length of the road, the darkness of the night, or the intemperance of the weather; on reaching her habitation, he gives a gentle tap at the window of her chamber, at which signal aha iaunediately rises, dresses herself, and proceeds with all possible silence to the door, which she gently opens, lest a creaking hinge, or a barking dog should awakes the family. On his entrance into the kitchen, the luxuries of a Cam-Brian cottagecream and sugared curdsare plaeed before him; next the courtship ansamsnnei, previously to which, the Ire is darkened and extinguished, lest its light should guide to the window some idle or licentious eye; in this dark and uncomfortable situation (at least uncomfortable to all bnt lovers), they remain till the advance of day, depositing in each other's bosoms the secrets of love, and making vows of unalterable affection."
sons, nine daughters, fourteen wives, three widows, one 'squire, and one pauper of eighty-six years of age.
" But," says the Pudding-Lane reader, if this be the entire community, how do the people livef where are the shops) where that glorious interchange of commodities, without which society cannot exist) Where do they get their breadtheir meattheir teatheir sugartheir clothingtheir shoes? If ill, what becomes of them? Their children, where are they taught? Their money, where is it deposited? Their letters?for surely they cannot be cut off from all civilization by the utter absence of post-office and postman 1 Am they beyond the realms of justice, that no attorney is numbered amongst their population? They have a constablewhere, then, the magistrate ? They have a parish-clerkthen where the clergyman?"
Alas! reader, the picturesque is seldom associated with the oon-veniencies or luxuries of life. Wash the peasant-girl's face and bandoline her hair, she proves but a bad vignette for that most unpicturesque of booksthe Book of Beauty. Whitewash the ruins, and make them comfortable; what artist would waste his pencils upon them? So is it with Buttermere: there the traveller will find no butcher, no baker, no grocer, no draper, no bookseller, no pawnbroker, no street-musicians, no confectioners, and no criminals. Bunt your pantaloons oli, mountain tourist! and it is five miles to the nearest tailor. Wear the sole of your shoe to the bone on the sharp craigs of Robinson or of the Ooat-gUls, and you must walk to Lowes Water for a shoemaker. Be mad with the toothache, caught from continued exposure to the mountain breeze, and, go which way yon willto Keswick or to Cockermouthit is ten miles to the nearest chemist Be seized with the pangs of death, and you must send twenty miles, there and back, for Dr. Johnson to ease your last moments. To apprise your friends by letter of your danger, a messenger must go six miles before the letter can be posted. If you desire to do jam duty to those you may leave behind, you must send three leagues to Messrs. Brag and Steal to make your will, and they must travel the same distance before either can perform the office for you. You wish to avail yourself of the last consolations of the Church; the clergyman, who oscillates in his duties between Withorp and Buttermere, (an interval of twelve miles,) baa, perhaps, just been sent for to visit the opposite parish, and is now going, at a hard gallop, in the contrary direction, to another parishioner. Die 1 and you must be taken five miles in a cart to be buried; for though Buttermere boasts a church, it stands upon a rock, from which no sexton has yet been found hardy enough to quarry out a grave 1
But these are the mere dull, dry matters of fact of Buttermere the prose of its poetry. The ciphers tall us nothing of die men or their mountains. We might as well be walking in the Valley of Dry Bones, with Maculloeh, Porter, Macf,Tej,'or, or the Editor of the Mconomut, for our guides. Such teachers strip all life of its emotions, and dress die earth in one quaker's suit of drab. All they know of
beauty is, that it does not belong to the utilities of lifefeeling with them is merely the source of prejudiceand every thing that refines or dignifies humanity, is by such men regarded as sentimentalism or rodomontade.
And yet, the man who could visit Buttermere without a sense of the sublimity and the beauty which encompass him on every side, must be indeed dead to the higher enjoyments of life. Here, the mountains heave like the billows of the land, telling of the storm that swept across the earth before man was on it. Here, deep in their huge bowl of hills, lie the grey-green waters of Crummock and of Buttermere, tinted with the hues of the sloping fells around them, as if the mountain dyes had trickled into their streams. Look which way you will, the view is blocked in by giant cliffs. Far at the end stands a mighty mound of rocks, umber with the shadows of the masses of cloud that seem to rest upon its jagged tops, while the haze of the distance hangs about it like a bloom. On the one side and in front of this rise the peaks of High Craig, High Stile, and Red Pike, far up into the air, breaking the clouds as they pass, and the white mists circling and wreathing round their warted tops, save where the blue sky peeps brightly between them and the sun behind streams between the peaks, gilding every craig. The rays go slanting down towards the lake, leaving the steep mountain sides bathed in a rich dark shadowwhile the waters below, here dance in the light, sparkling and shimmering, like scales of a fish, and there, swept by the sudden gust, the spray of their tiny waves is borne along the surface in a powdery shower. Here the steep sloping sides are yellow-green with the stinted verdure, spotted red, like rust, with the withered fern, or tufted over with the dark green furze. High up, the bare, ash-grey rocks thrust themselves through the sides, like the bones of the meagre Earth. The brown slopes of the more barren craigs are scored and gashed across with black furrows, showing the course of dried-up torrents; while in another place, the mountain stream comes leaping down from craig to craig, whitening the hill-side as with wreaths of snow, and telling of the "tarn" which lies silent and dark above it, deep buried in the bosom of the mountain. Beside this, climbs a Wood, feathering the mountain sides, and yet so lost in the immensity that every tree seems but a blade of fern. Then, as you turn round to gaze upon the hills behind you, and bend your head far back to catch the Moss's highest craigs, you see blocks and blocks of stone tumbled one over the other, in a disorder that fills and confounds the mind, with trees jutting from their fissures, and twisting their bare roots under the huge stones, like cords to lash them to their places; while the mountain sheep, red with ruddle, stands perched on some overhanging craig, nipping the scanty herbage. And here, as you look over the tops of Hassness Wood, you see the blue smoke of the unseen cottage curling lightly up into the air, and blending itself with the bloom of the distant mountains. Then, as you journey on, you hear the mountain streams, now trickling softly down the sides, now hoarsely rushing down a rocky bed,
MB. AND MBS. CTJB8TY SANDBOYS.
and now, in gentle and harmonions hum, Tying with the breeze as it comes sighing down the valley.
Central between the Waters, and nestling in its mountains, lies the little village of Buttermere, like a babe in its mother's lap. Scarce half-a-dozen houses, huddled together like sheep for mutual shelter from the storm, make up the humble mountain home. On each side, in straggling order, perched up in the hill-side nooks, the other dwellings group themselves about it. In the centre stands the unpretending village inn. Behind it stretch the rich, smooth, and velvety meadows, spotted with red cattle, and looking doubly green and soft and level, from the rugged, brown, and barren mountains, that rise abrupt upon them. To stand in these fields, separating as they do the twin waters, is, as it were, to plant the foot upon the solid lake, and seem to float upon some verdant raft. High on the rock, fronting the humble inn, stands sideways the little church, smaller than the smallest cottage, with its two bells in tiny belfry crowning its* gable end, and backed by the distant mountain that shows through the opening pass made by the hill on whose foot it rests. Bound and about it circles the road, in its descent towards the homesteads that are grey with the stone, and their roofs green with the slate of their native hills, harmonious in every tint and shade with all around them. Beside the bridge spanning the angry brook which hurries brawling round the blocks of stone that intercept its course, stands the other and still more humble inn, half clad in ivy, and hiding the black arch through which the mountain beck," white with foam comes dashing round the turn.
In the village road, for street there is none, not a creature is to be seen, save where a few brown or mottled short-horns'' straggle up from the meadows,now stopping to stare vacantly about them, now capering purposeless with uplifted tails, or butting frolicsome at each other; then marching to the brook, and standing knee-deep in the scurrying waters, with their brown heads bent down to drink, and the rapid current curling white around their legs, while others go leaping through the stream, splashing the waters in transparent sheets about them. Not a fowl is to be seen scratching at the soil, nor duck waddling pompously toward the stream. Not even a stray dog crosses the roadway, unless it be on the Sunday, and then every peasant or farmer who ascends the road has his sharp-nosed, shaggy sheep-dog following at his heels, and vying with his master in the enjoyment of their mutual holiday. Here, too, ofttimes may be seen some aged dame, with large white cap, and bright red kerchief pinned across her bosom, stooping to dip her pail into the brook; while over the bridge, just showing above the coping-stone, appears the grey-coated farmer, with drab hat, and mounted on his shaggy brown pony, on his way to the neighbouring market Here, too, the visitor may, sometimes, see the farmers wives grouped outside one of the homestead gateswatching their little lasses set forth on their five-mile pilgrimage to school, their baskets filled with their week's provisions hanging on their arms, and the hoods of their
blue-grey cloaks dancing as they skip playfully along, thoughtless of the six days' absence, or mountain road before them. At other times, some good-wife, or ruddy servant girl, sallies briskly from the neighbouring farm, and dodges across the road the truant pig that has dashed boldly from the midden. Anon, climbing the mountain side, saunters some low-built empty cart, with white horse, and grey-coated carter, now, as it winds up the road, hidden by the church, now disappearing in the circling of the path behind the slope, then seen high above the little belfry, and hanging, as it were, by the hill side, as the carter pauses to talk with the pedlar, who, half buried in his pack, descends the mountain on his way to the village. Then, again aacending, goes the cart, higher and higher, till it reach the highest platform, to vanish behind the mountain altogether from the sight.
Such, reader, is a faint pen-and-ink sketch of a few of the charms and rural graces of Buttermere. That many come to see, and but few to appreciate them, the visitors' book of the principal inn may be cited as unquestionable evidence. Such a book in such a scene one would expect to find filled with sentiments approximating to refinement, at least, if not to poetry; but the mountains here seem more strongly to atfect the appetite of Southerners than their imaginations, as witness the under-written, which are cited in all their hare and gross literality.
" Mbhbs. Bolton, Campbell aid Co., of Prince's Park, Liverpool, visited this inn, and were pleased with the lamb-chops, but found the boats dear. June 28,1860."
" Thomas Due kbam, sen., Ludley Park; George Poms, sen., Ludley Bridge; Came to Buttermere on the 26th, 12mo., 1850; that day had a glorious walk over the mountains from Keswick; part of the way by Lake Derwent by boat. Stayed at Buttermere all night. Splendid eating! !!
" Rsv. Joshua Ri shell Ann Sox,
The whiskey is particularly fine at this house, and we made an excellent dinner." Oet. 7th, 50.
Philipps Kilham, Manchester; Johm F. Philipps ; Miss Maboabetta Philipps. The Fish a most comfortable inn. A capital dinner. Good whiskey. Tbb obit
(..miii SLASS WB HAVH Mil WITH IN TBI WHOLE I.AKS DISTRICT."
" Mb. Edwabd Kibo,Dslston, London,and 7,Fenchureh-street, London: walked from Whitehaven to Ennerdsle Lake, calling at the Boat House on tbe margin of the Lake, where, having invigorated the inward man, I took the mountain path between Floutem Tarn and Grosdale, passed Scale Force, and arrived iu the high mountain which overlooks Crummoch and Buttermere: here, indeed, each mountain scene is magnificently rude. I entered the beautiful vale of Buttermere; was fortunate enough to find the Fish Inn, where all were extremely civil; and from tbe landlady I received politeness and very excellent accommodation. Had a glorious feed for 1. Mrf.!! Chop, with sharp sauce, 64.; potatoes, id.; cheese, 14.; bread, 1 i.; beer, Oot; waitress (a charming, modest, snd obliging yonng creature, who put me in mind of the story of tbe Maid of Buttermere, and learnt me the names of all the mountains), Id.; total, I 34 Thursday, April 18, 1850." *
* Tbe reader is requested to remember that these are not given as matters of invention, but as literal extracts, with real names and dates, copied from the books kept by Mrs. Clark, the excellent hostess of the Fish Inn, Buttermere.
" There'! been rue luck thrnoghont the lan' Sin' fwok mad leyka their betters sbeyae; The country's puzzen'd roan' wi' prejde; We're e'aff and san' to auld lang seyne."
North Country Ballad.
Hard upon a mile from the Tillage before described lived the here, the heroine, and herolete of the present story, by names Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys, their son, Jobby, and their daughter, Elcy. Their home was one of the two squires' houses before spoken of as lying at the extremes of the village. Mr. Christopher, or, as after the old Cumberland fashion he was called, Cursty," Sandboys, was native to the place, and since his college days at St. Bees, had never been further than Keswick or Cockermouth, the two great emporia and larders of Buttermere. He had not missed Keswick Cheese Fair for forty Martinmasses, and had been a regular attendant at Lanthwaite Green, every September, with his lean sheep for gracing. Nor did the Monday morning's market at Cockermouth ever open without Mr. Christopher Sandboys, but on one day, and that was when the two bells of Lorton Church tried to tinkle a marriage peal in honour of his wedding with the heiress of Newlands. A statesman" by birth, he possessed some hundred acres of land, with pasturing" on the fell side for his sheep; in which he took such pride that the walk of his keeping-room," or, as we should call it, sitting-room, were covered on one side with printed bills telling how his lamb-euckad ewes," his "Herdwickes" and his "shearling tups" and "gimmere" had carried off the first and second best prizes at Wastdale and at Deanscale shows. Indeed, it was his continual boast that he grew the coat he had on his back, and he delighted not only to clothe himself, but his son Jobby (much to the annoyance of the youth, who sighed for the gentler graces of kerseymere) in the undyed, or self-coloured," wool of his sheep, known to all the country round as the "Sandboys' Grey"in reality a peculiar tint of speckled brown. His winter mornings were passed in making nets, and in the summer his winter-woven nets were used to despoil the waters of Buttermere of their trout and char. He knew little of the world but through the newspapers that reached him, half-priced, stained with tea, butter, and eggs, from a coffee-shop in Londonand nothing of society but through that ideal distortion given us in novels, which makes the whole human family appear as a small colony of penniless angels and wealthy demons. His long evenings were, however, generally devoted to the perusal of his newspaper, and, living in a district to which crime was unknown, he became gradually impressed by reading the long catalogues of robberies and murders that filled his London weekly and daily sheets, that all out of Cumberland was in a state of savage barbarism, and that the Metropolis was a very
caldron of wickedness, of which the grosser scum was continually being taken off, through the medium of the police, to the colonies. In a word, the bugbear that haunted the innocent mind of poor Mr. Cursty Sandboys was the wickedness of all the world but Buttermere.
And yet to have looked at the man, one would never suppose that Sandboys could be nervous about anything. Taller than even the tallest of the villagers, among whom he had been bred and born, he looked a grand specimen of the human race in a country where it is by no means uncommon to see a labouring man with form and features as dignified, and manners as grave and self-possessed, as the highest bred nobleman in the land. His complexion still bore traces of the dark Celtic mountain tribe to which he belonged, but age had silvered his hair, which, with his white eyebrows and whiskers, contrasted strongly and almost beautifully with a small cwoal-black een." So commanding, indeed, was his whole appearance, though in bis suit of homespun grey, that, on first acquaintance, the exceeding simplicity of his nature came upon those who were strangers to the man and the place with a pleasant surprise.
Suspicious as he was theoretically, and convinced of the utter evil of the ways of the world without Buttermere, still, practically, Cursty Sandboys was the easy dupe of many a tramp and Turnpike Sailor, that with long tales of intricate and accumulative distress, supported by apocryphal briefs and petitions, signed and attested by phantasm mayors and magistrates, sought out the fastnesses of Buttermere, to prey upon the innocence and hospitality of its people.*
It was Mr. Sandboys' special delight, of an evening, to read the newspaper aloud to his family, and endeavour to impress his wife and children with the same sense of the rascality of the outer world as reigned within his own bosom. But his denunciations, as is too often the case, served chiefly to draw attention and to excite curiosity
* To prove to tbe reader bow systematic and professional is the vagrancy and trading beggary of this county, a gentleman, living in the neighbourhood of Buttermere, and to whom we are indebted for many other favours, has obliged us with the subjoined registry and snalysis of tbe vsgabonds who sought relief at his house, from
April 1, 1848, to March ill, 1840:
Males, istrangers)............ 80
Males, (previously relieved)......... 73
Females, (strangers)........... 10
Females, (previously relieved)........ 41
This is at the rate of two beggars a-week, for the colder six months of the year, and six a-week in the warm weather, visiting as remote, secluded, and humble a village aa any in the kingdom. It is curious to uote in the above the great number of females previously relieved compared with tbe strangers," as showing that when women take to vagrancy they seldom abandon the trade. It were to be desired that gentlemen would perform similar services to the above in their several parts of the kingdom, so that, by a large collection of tacts, the public might be at last convinced how pernicious to a community is promiscuous charity. Of all lessons there is none so dangerous as to teach people that they can live by other means than labour.
touching subjects, which, without them, would probably have remained unheard of; so that his family, unknown to each other, were secretly sighing for that propitious turn of destiny which should impel them where fashion and amusement never failed, as their father said, to lure their victim from more serious pursuits.
The mind of Mrs. Sandboys was almost as circumscribed as that of the good Cursty himself. If Sandboys loved his country, and its mountains, she was lost in her kitchen, her beds, and her buckbasket. His soul was hemmed in by the Hay-Stacks," Red Pike, Melbrake, and Grassmoor, and hers, by the four walls of Hassness-house. She prided herself on her puddings, and did not hesitate to take her stand upon her pie-crust. She had often been heard to say, with extreme satisfaction, that her "Buttered sops" were the admiration of the country roundand it was her boast that she could turn the large thin oat-cake at a toss; while the only feud she had ever been known to have in all her life, was with Mrs. Gill, of Low-Houses, Newlands, who declared that in her opinion the cakes were better made with two backbwords" than one; and though several attempts had been made towards reconciliation, she had ever since withstood all advances towards a renewal of the ancient friendship that had cemented the two families. It was her glory that certain receipts had been in her familythe heirlooms of the eldest daughterfor many generations; and, when roused on the subject, she had been heard to exclaim, that she would not part with her wild raspberry jelly but with her life; and, come what may, she had made up her mind, to carry her sugared curds" down with her to her grave.
The peculiar feature of Mrs. Sandboys' mind was to magnify the mildest trifles into violent catastrophes. If a China shepherdess, or porcelain Prince Albert, were broken, she took it almost as much to heart as if a baby had been killed. Washing, to her, was almost a sacred ceremony, the day being invariably accompanied with fasts. Her beds were white as the opposite waters of Sour-Milk Gill;" and the brightness of the brass hobs in the keeping-room at Hassness were brilliant tablets to record her domestic virtues. She was perpetually waging war with cobwebs, and, though naturally of a strong turn of mind, the only time she had been known to faint was, when the only flea ever seen in Hassness House made its appearance full in the front of Cursty Sandboys' shirt, at his dinner, for the celebration of a Sheep-Shearing Prize. If her husband dreaded visiting London on account of its iniquities, she was deterred by the Cumberland legend of its bugsfor, to her rural mind, the people of the Great Metropolis seemed to be as much preyed upon by these vermin, as the natives of India by the white antsand it was a conviction firmly implanted in her bosom, that if she once trusted herself in a London four-post, there would be nothing left of her in the morning but her nightcap.
The son and daughter of this hopeful pair were mere common-place creatures. The boy, Jobby, as Joseph is familiarly called in Cumberland, had just shot up into hobbledyhoyhood, and was long and thin, as if Nature had drawn him, like a telescope, out of his boots. Though
almost a man in stature, he was still a boy in tastes, and full of life and activityever, to his mother's horror, tearing his clothes in climbing the craigs for starlings and magpies, or ransacking the hedges for spinks" and skopps, or else he terrified her by remaining out on the lake long past dusk, in a boat, or delighting to go up into the fells after the sheep, when overblown by the winter's snow. His mother declared, after the ancient maternal fashion, that it was impossible to keep that boy clean and however he wore out his clothes and shoes was more than she could tell. The pockets of the youth of which she occasionally insisted on seeing the contentswill best show 11 is character to the discerning reader; these usually proved to comprise gentles, oat-cake, a leather sucker, percussion oaps, a short pipe, (for, truth to say, the youth was studying this great art of modern manhood), a few remaining bleaberries, a Jew's-harp, a lump of cobbler's wax, a small coil of shining gut, with fish-hooks at the end, a charge or two of shot, the Cumberland Songster, a many-bladed knife with cork-screw, horsepicker, and saw at the back, together with a small mass of paste, swarming with thin red worms, tied up in one of his sister's best cambric pocket-handkerchiefs.
Elcy, or Alice Sandboys, the sister of the last-named young gentleman, was some two or three years his elder; and, taking after her mother, had rather more of the Saxon complexion than her father or brother. At that age when the affections seek for something to rest themselves upon, and located where society afforded no fitting object for her sympathies, her girlish bosom found relief in expending its tenderness on pet doves, and squirrels, and magpies, and such gentler creatures as were denizens of her father's woods. These, and all other animals, she spoke of in diminutive endearment; no matter what the size, all animals were little to her; for, in her own language, her domestic menagerie consisted of her dovey, her doggey, her dickey, her pussey, her scuggy, her piggey, and her cowey. In her extreme love for the animal creation, she would have taken the young trout from its play and liberty in the broad lake beside her, and kept it for ever < ireling round the crystal treadmill of a glass globe. But the course of her true love ran anything but smooth. Jobby was continually slitting the tongue of her magpie with a silver sixpence, to increase its powers of language, or angling for her gold fish with an elaborate apparatus of hooks, or carrying off her favourite spaniel to have his ears and tail cut in the last new fashion, at the farrier's, or setting her cat on a board down the lake, or performing a hundred other such freaks as thoughtless youth alone can think of, to the annoyance of susceptible maidens. Herself unaware of the pleasures of which she deprived the animals she caged and globed, and on which her sole anxiety was to heap every kindness, she was continually remonstrating with her brother (we regret to say with little effect) as to the wickedness of fishing, or, indeed, of putting anything to pain.
Such was the character of the family located at Hassness House, the only residence that animated the solitary banks of Buttermere
and such, doubtless, would the Sandboys have ever remained but for the advent of the year 1851. The news of the opening of the Great Exhibition had already penetrated the fastnesses of Buttermere, and the villagers, who perhaps, but for the notion that the whole world was about to treat itself to a trip to the metropolis, would have remained quiet in their mountain homes, had been, for months past, subscribing their pennies with the intention of having their share in the general holiday. Buttermere was one universal scene of excitement from Woodhouse to Gatesgarth. Mrs. Nelson was making a double allowance of her excellent oat-cakes; Mrs. Clark, of the Fish Inn, waa packing up a jar of sugared butter, among other creature com forts for the occasion. John Cowman was brushing up his top shirt; Dan Fleming was greasing his calkered boots; John Lancaster was wondering whether his hat were good enough for the great show; all the old dames were busy ironing their deep frilled caps, and airing their hoods; all the young lasses were stitching at all their dresses, while seme of the more nervous villagers, who bad never yet trusted themselves to a railway, were secretly making their willspreparatory to their grand starting for the metropolis.
Amidst this general bustle and excitement there was, however, one house where the master was not absorbed in a calculation as to the probable length and expenses of the journey; where the mistress was not busy preparing for the comfort of the outward and inward man of her lord and master; where the daughter was not in deep consnlte-tion as to the prevailing metropolitan fashionsand this house was Hassness. Kor Mr. Sandboys, with his loii^-cherished conviction ol the wickedness of London, bad expressed in unmeasured terms his positive determination that neither he himself, nor any that belonged to him, should ever be exposed to the moral pollution of the metropolis. This was a sentiment in which Mrs. Sandboys heartily concurred, though on very different groundsthe one objecting to the moral, the other to the physical, contamination of the crowded city. Mr. Sandboys had been thrice solicited to join the Buttermere Travelling Club, and thrice he had held out against the most persuasive appeals. But Squire .1 >!>- m. who acted as Treasurer to the Travelling Association for the Great Exhibition of 1851, not liking that bis old friend Sandboys should be the only one in all Buttermere who absented himself from the general visit to the metropolis, waited upon him at Hassness to offer him the last chance of availing himself of the advantages of that valuable institution as a means of conveying himself and family, at the smallest possible expense, to the great metropolis, and of allowing him and them a week's stay, as well as the privilege of participating in all the amusements and gaieties of the capital at its gayest possible time.
It was a severe trial for Sandboys to withstand the united batteries of Jopson's enthusiastic advocacy, bis daughter's entreaties, his son's assurances of steadiness. But Sandboys, though naturally possessed of a heart of butter, delighted to assure himself that he carried about a flint in his bosom; so he told Jopson, with a shake of his head, that
16 1851; ob, the adventures of
he might aa well try to move Helvellyn or shake Skiddaw; and that, while he blushed for the weakness of his family, he thanked Heaven that he, at least, was adamant.
Jopson showed him by the list he brought with him that the whole of the villagers were going, and that Hassness would be left neighbourless for a circuit of seven miles at least; whereupon Sandboys observed, with a chuckle, that the place could not be much more quiet than it was, and that with those fine fellows, Robinson and Davy Top, and Dod and Honister around him, he should never want company.
Jopson talked sagely of youths seeing the world and expanding their minds by travel; whereat the eyes of the younger Sandboys glistened; but the father rejoined, that travel was of use only for the natural beauties of the scenery it revealed, and the virtues of the people with whom it brought the traveller into association; and where," he asked, with evident pride of county, could more natural beauty or greater native virtue be found, than amongst the mountains and the pastoral race of Buttermere)" Seizing the latest Times that had reached him the evening before, he pointed triumphantly to some paragraph, headed Ingenious Fraud on a Yokel!" wherein a country gentleman had been cleverly duped of some hundreds of pounds paid to him that morning at Smith-field ; and he asked with sarcasm, whether those were the scenes and those the people that Jopson thought he could improve his son Jobby by introducing him to]
In vain Jopson pulled from his pocket a counter newspaper, and showed him the plan of some monster Lodging House which was to afford accommodation for one thousand persons from tbe country, at one and the same time, for one-and-three per night 1" how, for this small sum, each of the thousand was to be provided "with bedstead, good wool mattrass, sheets, blankets, and coverlet; with soap, towels, and every accommodation for ablution;" how the two thousand boots of tbe thousand lodgers were to be cleaned at one penny per pair, and their one thousand chins to be shaven by relays of barbers continually in attendancehow a surgeon was to attend at nine o'clock every morning," to examine the lodgers, and "instantly remove all cases of infectious disease"how there was to be a smoking-room, detached from the main building, where a band of music was to play every evening, gratis"how omnibuses to all the theatres and amusements and sights were to carry the thousand sight-seers at one penny per headhow cold roast and boiled beef and mutton, and ditto ditto sausages and bacon, and pickles, salads, and fruit pies (when to be procured,) were to be furnished, at fixed prices," to the thousand country gentlemen with the thousand country appetiteshow "all the dormitories were to be well lighted with gas to secure the complete privacy of the occupants" how "they were to be watched over by efficient wardens and police constables"how "an office was to be opened for the security of luggage"and how the proprietor pledged himself that every care
MR. AND MRS. CURSTY SANDBOYS.
should be taken to ensure the comfort, convenience, and strict discipline of so large a body."
Sandboys, who had sat perfectly quiet while Jobson was detailing the several advantages of this Brobdignagian boarding-house, burst out at the completion of the narrative with a demand to be informed whether it was probable that be, who had passed his whole life in a village consisting of fifteen houses and but seven families, would, in his fifty-fifth year, consent to take up his abode with a thousand people under one roof, with a gas-light to secure the privacy of his bed-room, policemen to watch him all night, and a surgeon to examine him in the morning!
Having thus delivered himself, he turned round, with satisfaction, to appeal to his wife and children, when he found them, to his horror, with the newspaper in their hands, busily admiring the picture of the very building that he had so forcibly denounced.
Early the next morning, Mrs. Sandboys, with Jobby and Elcy, went down to the Fish Inn, to see the dozen carts and cars leave, with the united villagers of Buttermere, for the Travellers' Train at Cockermouth. There was the stalwart Daniel Fleming, of the White Howe, mounted on his horse, with his wife, her baby in her arms, and the children, with the farm maid, in the cart,his two men trudging by its side. There was John Clark, of Wilkinsyke, tbe farmer and statesman, with his black-haired sons, Isaac and Johnny, while Richard rode the piebald pony; and Joseph and his wife, with little Grace, and their rosy-cheeked maid, Susannah, from the Fish Inn, sat in the car, kept at other times for the accommodation of their visitors. After them came Isaac Cowman, of the Croft, the red-faced farmer-constable, with his fine tall, flaxen, Saxon family about him; and, following in his wake, his Roman-nosed nephew John, the host of The Victoria," with his brisk, bustling wife on his arm. Then came handsome old John Lancaster, seventy years of age, and as straight as the mountain larch, with his wife and bis sons, Andrew and Robert, and their wives. And following these, John Branthwaite, of Bowtherbeck, the parish-clerk, with his wife and wife's mother; and Edward Nelson, the sheep-breeder, of Gatesgarth, dressed in bis well-known suit of grey, with his buxom gude-wife, and her three boys and her two girls by her side; while the fresh-coloured bonnie lassie, her maid, Betty Gatesgarth, of Gatesgarth, in her bright green dress and pink ribbons, strutted along in their wake. Then came, the Riggs: James Rigg, the miner, of Scots Tuft, who had come over from his work at Cleator for the special holiday; and there were his wife and young boys, and Jane Rigg, the widow, and her daughter Mary Ann, the grey-eyed beauty of Buttermere, in her jaunty jacket-waisted dress; with her swarthy black-whiskered Celtic brother, and his pleasant-faced Saxon wife carrying their chubby-cheeked child; and behind them came Ann Rigg, the slater's widow, from Craig House, with her boys and little girl; and, leaning on their shoulders, the eighty-years-old, white-haired, Braithwaite Rigg and his venerable dame; and close upon them was seen old Rowley Lightfoot, his wife, and son John. Squire Jobson's
man walked beside the car from the Fish Inn, talking to the tidy,
clean old housekeeper of Woodhouse; while the Squire himself rode in the rear, proud and happy as he marshalled the merry little band along;for, truth to say, it would have been difficult to find in any other part of England so much manliness and so much rustic beauty centred in so small a spot
As they moved gently along the road, John Cowman, the host of the Victoria, struck up the following well-known song, which was welcomed with a shout from the whole lating:"
" I's Borrowdale Jwohnny, just cumt up to Lunnon, Nay, gum nit at me, for fear / laugh at you; I've seen kneaves donn'd t silks, and gud men gang in tatters; The truth we sud tell, and gi'e auld Nick his due."
Then the gust rushed down the valley, and the voices of the happy holiday throng were swept, for a moment, away; as it lulled again, lie ear, familiar to the song, could catch the laugh and cheers that accompanied the next verse:
" Keep frae t' lasses, and ne'er luik ahint thee.' We're deep as the best o' them, fodder,' says I. They packed up ae sark, Sunday weascwoat, twee neckcloths, Wot bannock, cauld dumplin', and top stannin' pye;"
Again the voices were lost in the turning of the road, and presently, as they shot out once more, they might be heard singing in full chorus
" Ca' and see cousin Jacep, he's got a' the money; Hell git thee some guver'ment pleace to be seer."
At last, all was stillbut scarcely more still than when the whole of the cottages were filled with their little families, for the village, though now utterly deserted, would have seemed to the stranger to have been as thickly populated and busy as ever.
" Heaste, Jenny! put the bairns to bed,
And mind they say their prayers. Sweet innocents! their heads yence down,
They sleep away their cares! Bui gi' them furst a butter-shsg;
When young, they munnet want, Nor ever ssl a bairn o' mine
While I've a bite to grant."
The Ha?py Family.
The younger Sandboys took the departure of the villagers more to heart than did their mother; though, true to her woman's nature, bad tbe trip been anywhere but to London, she would have felt hurt at not making one of the pleasure-party. On reaching home, she and
Mr. Sandboys congratulated one another that they were not on their way to suffer the miseries of a week's residence amidst either the dirt or the wickedness of the metropolis ; but Elcy and Jobby began, for the first time, to feel that the retirement, which they heard so much vaunted every day, and which so many persons came from all parts of tbe country to look at and admire, cut them off from a considerable share of the pleasures which all the world else seemed so ready to enjoy, and which they began shrewdly to suspect were not quite so terrible as their father was in the habit of making out.
Thus matters continued at Hassness till the next Tuesday evening, when Mrs. Sandboys remarked that it was very strange" that Matthew Harker, t' grocer, had not been to village" with his pony and cart that day : and what she sud do for t' tea, and sugar, and soft bread, she didn't know."
Now, seeing that the nearest grocer was ten miles distant, and that there was no borrowing this necessary article from any of their neighbours, as the whole village was then safely housed in London, such a failure in the visit of the peripatetic tea-man, upon whom the inhabitants of Buttermere and Crummock Water one and all depended for their souchong, and lump, and moist, and wheaten bread, was a matter of more serious importance than a townsman might imagine.
It was therefore arranged that Postlethwaite their man should take Paddy t' pony over to Keswick the next day, to get the week's supply of grocery, and learn what bad happened to Harker, in whom the Sandboys took a greater interest from the fact of their having subscribed, with others of the gentry, when Harker lost his hand by blasting cobbles, to start him in the grocery business, and provide him with a horse and cart to carry his goods round the country.
Postlethwaitea long, grave, saturnine-looking man, who was a Utile" hard of hearing, was, after much shouting in the kitchen, made to comprehend the nature of his errand. But he had quitted Hassness only a short hour, when he returned with the sad intelligencewhich he had picked up from Ellick Crackanthorpe, who was left in charge of Keskadale, while the family had gone to town,that Harker, finding all the folk about Keswick had departed for the Great Exhibition, and hearing that Buttermere had done the same, had put his wife and bis nine children inside his own van, and was at that time crawling up by easy stages to London.
Moreover, Postlethwaite brought in the dreary tidings that, in coming down from the top of the Hause, just by Bear's fall, Paddy had cast a shoe, and that it was as much as he could do to get him down the Moss side. This calamity was a matter of as much delight to the youngsters as it was of annoyance to the elder Sandboys; for seeing that Bob Beck, the nearest blacksmith, lived six miles distant, and that it was impossible to send either to Cockermouth or Keswick for the necessaries of life, until the pony was armed against the rock in ess of the road, it became a matter of considerable difficulty to settle what could be done.
After much serious deliberation, it was finally arranged that Postlethwaite should lead the pony on to the sraiddy," at Loweswater, to be shod, and then ride him over to Dodgson's, the grocer's, at Cockermouth.
Postlethwaite, already tired, and, it must be confessed, not a little vexed at the refusal of Mr. Sandboys to permit him to accompany his fellow-villagers on this London tripthe greatest event of all their livesstarted very sulky, and came back, long after du
" Geane to Lunnon for to see t' Girt 'Shibition '"
and, worse than all to Postlethwaite, he discovered, moreover, on seeking his usual ale at Kirkstile, that Harry Pearson, the landlord, had accompanied the Buttermere travellers' train up to town; and that John Wilkinson, the other landlord, had followed him the day after; so that there was neither bite nor sup to be had in the place, and no entertainment either for man or beast.
In pity to Paddy, if not in remembrance of the farmer's good cheer, Postlethwaite, on his way back, turned down to Joe Watson's, at Lanthwaite, and there found it impossible to make anybody hear him, for the farmer and bis six noble-looking sonsknown for miles round as the flower of the countryhad also joined the sight-seers on their way to the train at Cockermouth.
This was sad news to the little household. It was the first incident that gave Mrs. Sandboys an insight into the possible difficulties that their remaining behind, alone, at Hassness, might entail upon the family. She, and Mr. Sandboys, had hitherto only thought of the inconveniences attending a visit to London, and little dreamt that their absence from it, at such a time, might force them to undergo even greater troubles. She could perhaps have cheerfully tolerated the abdication of the Cockermouth millinershe might have heard, without a sigh, that Mr. Bailey had put up the shutters of bis circulating library, and stopped the supply of Henrietta Temples," Emilia Wyndhams," and The Two Old Men;" she might not even have complained had Thompson Martin, the draper, cut short her ribbons and laces, by shutting up his shop altogetherbut to have taken away her tea and sugar, was more than a lady in the vale of years, and the valley of Buttermere, could be expected to endure, without some outrage to philosophy!
The partiality of the sex in general for their morning and evening cup of souchong and best refined," is now ranked by physiologists among those inscrutable instincts of sentient nature, which are beyond the reach of scientific explanation. What oil is to the Esquimaux, what the juice of the cocoa-nut is to the monkey, what water is to the fish, what dew is to the flower, and what milk is to the catso is tea to woman I No person yet, in our own country, has propounded any sufficient theory to account for the English washerwomen's all-absorbing
love of the Chinese infusionnor for the fact of every maid-servant, when stipulating the terms of her engagement, always making it an express condition of the hiring, that she should be provided with tea and sugar," and of every mistress continually declaring that she would rather at any time go without her dinner than her tea."
What sage has yet taught us why womankind is as gregarious over tea as mankind over wine? Sheridan has called the Bottle the sun of the table; but surely the Teapot, with its attendant cups, may be considered as a heavenly system, towards which all the more beautiful bodies concentre, where the piano may be said to represent the music of the spheres, and in which the gentlemen, heated with wine, and darting in eccentric course from the dining-room, may be regarded as fiery comets. We would ask any lady whether Paradise could have been a garden of bliss without the tea-plant; and whether the ever-to-be-regretted error of our first mother was not the more unpardonable from the fact of her having preferred to pilfer an apple rather than pluck the fullest flavoured Pekoe." And may not psychology here trace some faint transcendental reason for the descendants of Adam still loving to linger over their apples after dinner, shunning the tea-table and those connected with it. Yet, perhaps, even the eating of apples has not been more dangerous to the human family than the sipping of tea. If sin came in with pippins, surely scandal was brought into the world with Bohea! Adam fell a victim to his wife's longing for a Ribston, and how many Eves have since fallen martyrs to the sex's love of the slanderous Souchong.
Mrs. Sandboys was not prepared for so great a sacrifice as her tea, and when she first heard from Postlethwaite the certainty of Harker's departure, and saw, by the result of this second journey, that there was no hope of obtaining a supply from Cockermouth, there was a moment when she allowed her bosom to whisper to her, that even the terror of a bed in London would be preferable to a tea-less Life at Hassness.
Mr. Sandboys, however, no sooner saw that there was no tea or sugar to be had, than he determined to sweeten his cup with philosophy ; so, bursting out with a snatch of the Cumberland Lang Seyne," he exclaimed, as cheerily as he could under the circumstances
" Deuce tek the fnil invented tea; For tweyce a day we that mini' liev;
and immediately after this, decided upon the whole family's reverting to the habits of their ancestors, and drinking yale" for breakfast This was by no means pleasant, but as it was clear she could do nothing else, Mrs. Sandboys, like a sensible woman, turned her attention to the contents of the ale-cask, and then discovered that some evil-disposed person, whom she strongly suspected to be Master Jobbyfor that young gentleman began to display an increasing enjoyment in each succeeding catastrophehad left the tap running, and that the cellar floor was covered three inches deep with the liquid
22 1851; or, the adventures of
intended to take off the dryness and somewhat sawdusty character of the oat-cake, which, in the absence of any wheaten bread, now formed the staple of their morning meal.
Now it so happened, that it wanted a fortnight of the return of Jennings' man, the brewer, whose periodical circumgyrations with the beer, round about Buttermere, gave, like the sun, life and heat to the system of its inhabitants. In this dire emergency, Postlethwaite, whose deafness was found to increase exactly in proportion to the inconvenience of the journeys required of him, was had out, and shaken well, and bawled at, preparatory to a walk over to Lorton Vale, where the brewery was situatedonly six miles distant.
But his trip on this occasion was about as successful as the last, for on reaching the spot, he found that the brewer, like the grocer, the farrier, and the publicans, had disappeared for London on the same pleasurable mission.
The family at Hassness was thus left without tea, beer, or bread, and, consequently, reduced to the pure mountain stream for their beverage, and oaten cakes and bacon for their principal diet. Their stock of fresh meat was usually procured from Frank Hutchison, the butcher of Cockermouth, but to go or send thither, under their present circumstances, appeared to be impossible. So that Mrs. Sandboys began to have serious alarms about two or three pimples that made their appearance on Cursty's face, lest a continued course of salt meat and oat-cake should end in the whole family being afflicted with the scurvy. She would immediately have insisted on putting them, one and all, under a severe course of treacle and brimstone, with a dash of cream of tartar in it to sweeten their blood;" only, luckily, there was neither treacle nor brimstone, nor cream of tartar, to be had for twenty miles, nor anybody to go for it, and then, probably, nobody at Mr. Bowerbank's to serve it
Sandboys, seeing that he had no longer any hope in Postlethwaite, was now awakened to the necessity of making a personal exertion. His wife, overpowered by this addition of the loss of dinner to the loss of tea, did not hesitate to suggest to him, that perhaps it might be as well, if they consented to do like the rest of the world, and betake themselves for a few days to London. For her own part, she was ready to make any sacrifice, even to face the London dirt. But Sandboys would listen to no compromise, declared that greatness showed itself alone in overcoming circumstances,and talked grandly of his forefathers, who had held out so long in these self-same mountain fastnesses. Mrs. Sandboys had no objection to make to the heroism, but she said that really Elcy's complexion required fresh meat; and that although she hereelf was prepared to give up a great deal, yet her Sunday's dinner was more than she was inclined to part with, and as for sacrifices, she had already sacrificed enough in the loss of her tea. Mr. Sandboys upon this bethought him of John Banks, the pig-butcher at Lorton, and having a young porker just ready for the knife, fancied he could not do better than despatch Postlethwaite with the animal to Lorton to be slaughtered. This, however, was sooner
decided upon than effected; for Postlethwaite, on being summoned, made his appearance in slippers, and declared he had worn out, in his several foraging excursions about the country, the only pair of shoes he had left. Whereupon his master, though it was with some difficulty he admitted the excuse,and this not until Postlethwaite, with a piteous gravity, had brought out a pair of calkered boots in the very worst possible condition,began to foresee that there was even more necessity for Postlethwaite to be shod than Paddy, for that unless he could be got over to Cockermouth, they might be fairly starved out. Accordingly, he gave his son Jobby instructions to make the best of his way to the two shoemakers, who resided within five miles of Hassness, for he made sure that one of the cobblers at least could be prevailed upon to put Postlethwaite in immediate travelling order.
It was long after nightfall, and Mrs. Sandboys had grown very uneasy as to the fate of her dear boy, when Postlethwaite was heard condoling over the miserable plight of Master Jobby. His mother rushed out to see what had happened, and found the bedraggled youth standing with one shoe in the hall, the other having been left behind in a bog, which he had met with in his attempt to make a short cut home on the other side of the lake by Melbrake.
Nor was the news he brought of a more cheerful nature. John Jackson the shoemaker was nowhere to be found. He had not been heard of sinoe the departure of the train; and John Coss, the other shoemaker, had turned post-boy again, and refused to do any cobbling whatsoever. Coss had told him he got a job to take some gentlefolks in a car over to Carlisle, to meet the train for London, and he was just about to start; and if Jobby liked, he would give him a lift thus far on t road to Girt 'Shibition.
This was a sad damper for Sandboys, for with John Jackson the shoemaker seemed to vanish his last hope. Postlethwaite had worn out his boots, Jobby had lost his shoes, and John Jackson and John Coss, the only men, within ten miles, who could refit them, were both too fully taken up with the Great Exhibition to trouble their heads about the destitution of Hassness.
Postlethwaite almost smiled when he heard the result of .lobby's twelve-mile walk, and drily remarked to the servant-maid, who already showed strong symptoms of discontenthaving herself a sweetheart exposed, without her care, to the temptations and wickedness of LondonUnit the whole family would be soon barefoot, and going about the countryside trying to get one another shod.
Sandboys consulted with his wife as to what was to be done, but she administered but little consolation; for the loss of her tea, and the prospect of no Sunday's dinner, had raffled her usual equanimity. The sight of her darling boy, too, barefoot and footsore, aroused every passion of her mother's heart. Jobby had no other shoes to his teat she told her husband, for the rate at which that boy wore his things out was quite terrible to a mother's feelings; bat Mr. Sandboys had no right to send the lad to such a distance, after such weather as they
24 1851; ob, the adventtjbes or
had just had. He might have known that Jobby was always taking short cuts, and always getting up to his knees in some mess or other; and he must naturally have expected that Jobby would have left both his slices behind him instead of oneand those the only shoes he had. She should not wonder if Mr. Sandboys had done it for the purpose. Who was to go the errands now, she should like to know? Mr. Sandboys, perhaps, liked living there, in that out-of-the-way hole, like a giant or a hermit. Did he expect that she or Elcy were going to drive that pig to Lorton?And thus she continued, going over and over again every one of the troubles that their absence from London had brought upon them, until Sandboys was worried into excitement, and plumply demanded of her whether she actually wished to go herself to the Exhibition? Mrs. Sandboys was at no loss for a reply, and retorted, that what she wanted was her usual meals, and shoes for her children; and if she could not get them there, why, she did not care if she had to go to Hyde Park for them.
Sandboys was little prepared for this confession of hostilities on the part of his beloved Aggy. He had never known her address him in such a tone since the day she swore at Lorton to honour and obey him. He jumped from his chair and began to pace the room now wondering what had come to his family and servants, now lamenting the want of tea, now sympathizing with the absence of ale, now biting his thumb as he contemplated the approximating dilemma of a dinnerless Sunday, and now inwardly cursing the Great Exhibition, which had not only taken all his neighbours from him, and deprived him of almost all the necessaries of life, but seemed destined to estrange his wife and children!
For a moment the idea passed across his mind, that perhaps it might be better to give way; but he cast the thought from him immediately, and as he trod the room with redoubled quickness and firmness of step, he buttoned his grey coat energetically across his breast, swelling with a resolution to make a desperate effort. He would drive the pig himself over to John Banks, the pig-butcher's, at Lorton! But, as in the case of Postlethwaite, Mr. Cursty Sandboys soon found that resolving to drive a pig was a far different thing from doing it. Even in a level country the pig-driving art is none of the most facile acquirements,but where the way to be traversed consists at every other yard of either a fell, a craig, a gill, a morass, a comb, a pike, a knot, a rigg, a skar, a beck, a howe, a force, a syke, or a tarn, or some other variety of those comfortable quarters into which a pig, with his peculiar perversity, would take especial delight in introducing his compagnon de voyagethe accomplishment of pig-driving in Cumberland partakes of the character of what sesthetic critics love to term High Art."
Nor did Mr. Sandboy's pigin spite of the benevolence and sops" administered during his education by the gentle Elcy, who shed tears at his departureat all detract from the glories of his race. Contrary to the earnest advice of Postlethwaite, founded on the experience of ages, who exhorted his master to keep the string loose in his hand
Sandboys, who had a theory of his own about pig-driving, and who was afraid that if the animal once got away from him in the hills, he would carry with him the family's only chance of fresh meat for weeks to comemade up his mind to keep a safe hold of him, and so, twisted the string which he had attached to the porker's leg two or three turns round his own wrist.
Scarcely had Elcy petitioned her brother for the gentle treatment of her pet piggy," than, crack! Jobby, who held the whip at the gate, while bis father adjusted the reins, sent a flanker on the animal's hindquarters. Away went piggy," and we regret to say, away went the innocent Sandboys, not after, but with himand precisely in the opposite direction to what he had intended. Cwoley," the dog, who had been dancing round the pig at the gate, no sooner saw the animal start off at score, than entering into the spirit of the scene, he gave full chase, yelping, and jumping, and snapping at him, so that the terrified porker fetched sharp round upon Sandboys, and bolted straight up the mountain side.
Now, to the stranger it should be made known, that climbing the fells of Cumberland is no slight taskeven when the traveller is allowed to pick his steps; but, with a pig to lead, no choice but to follow, and a dog behind to urge the porker on, the operation becomes one of considerable hardship, if not peril. Moreover, the mountain, over which Mr. Sandboys' pig had chosen to make his course, was called the Moss," or Morass," from its peculiar swampy character. Up went the pig, through bracken, and furze, and holly-bush, and up by the stunted oaks, and short-cut stumps, and straight on, up through the larches, over the rugged clump above Hassness; and up went Mr. Sandboys, over and through every one of the same obstacles, making a fresh rent in his trousers at every whin-bush"scratched, torn, panting, slipping, andif we must confess itswearing; now tumbling, now up again, but still holding on to the pig, or the pig holding on to him, for grim death.
But if it were difficult to ascend a Cumberland fell with a pig in front, how much more trying the descent! No sooner had Cwoley" turned the pig at the top, than Sandltoys, as he looked down the precipitous mountain up which his porker had dragged him, saw his work before him." It required but a slight momentum to start him; then, away they all three went togetherin racing technology "you might have covered them with a sheet" the dog barking, and the pig squeaking, and dragging Mr. Sandboys down the hill, at a rate that promised to bring him to the bottom with more celerity than safety. Unfortunately, too, the pig took his course towards the beck formed by the torrent at the Goat's Gills;" and no sooner did it reach the ravine, than, worried by the dog, it precipitated itself and Mr. Sandboys right down into the foaming, but luckily not very deep, waters.
But, if it were not deep, the bottom of the beck was at least stony; and there, on his back, without breath to cry out, lay the wretched Sandboys, a victim to his theory, his coat skirtless, his pantaloons torn to shreds, and the waters curling white about him, with the
1851; ok, the adventures of
driving string in his hand, cut by the sharp craigs in his fallwhile the legs, the loin, the griskin, and the chinethat were to have consoled the family for weeks, were running off upon the pettitoes which he had privately set aside for his own supper on some quiet evening.
Elcy, who, throughout the whole chase, had been bewailing the poor "piggey's" troubles, and exolaiming to her father not to hurt it, screamed with terror as, from the gate, she saw the plunge and splash; while the wicked Jobby, who had been rendered powerless by laughter, and the want of shoes, and Postlethwaite, who also had been inwardly enjoying the scene, now rushed forward to the rescue, in company with the whole household, and dragged out from the beck the bruised, tattered, bedraggled, bespattered, bedrenched, and wretched Sandboysthe more annoyed, because the first inquiry addressed to him by Mrs. Sandboys, in a voice of mingled terror and tenderness, was, Whatever has become of the pig?"
That was a mystery which took some hour or two to solve; for it was not until Elcy and Jobby, in Postlethwaite's old shoes, had explored both Robinson and the Moss, that they caught sight of Cwoley on the slope beside the foot of Buttermere Lake, dancing, in wild delight, round the shaft of a deserted mine, known as Muddock," where, as became evident from the string twisted round the bushes, the pig, like Curtius, had plunged suicidally into the gulf, and was then lying, unbaked, unroasted, and unboiled, in twelve foot water!
Sandboys, when the news was brought him, was, both metaphorically and literally, in hot Water. He sat with his two feet in a .steaming pail, and wrapped in a blanket, with a basin of smoking oatmeal gruel in his hand, Mrs. Sandboys by his side, airing a clean shirt at the fire, and vowing all the while, that she should not wonder if his obstinacy in stopping down there, starving all the family, and denying them even the necessaries of life, to gratify his own perversity, were not the death of herself and the dear children. If he caught his death, he would only have himself to blame; for there was not a Dover's Powder within twenty miles to be had for love or money]; and as for tallowing his nose, it was more than she could afford to do, for the candles were running so short, and there was not a tallow-chandler remaining in the neighbourhood, so that in a few days she knew that, all through his fine management, they would be left not only teal ess, beerless, meatless, and, she would add, her dear boy shoeless, but also in positive darkness.
This second outbreak on the part of tbe generally placid and anti-metropolitan Mrs. Sandboys was superinduced by a discovery she had made that morning, when about to give out the soap for the next day's monthly wash. She then remembered that the stock, which she had ordered of Harker had not come to hand; and there being no opportunity of getting to Dodgson or to Herdsupposing either of them to be at Cockermouthor of reaching any other oilman or tallow-chandlereven if such a character existed in the neighbourhood within a circuit of fifty milesshe began to see that by remaining at Hass-
ness, she and her children would positively be reduced to m more horrible state of dirtiness than the metropolis could possibly emulate, even taking for granted the truth of all the reports concerning the Thames water, which Mr. Sandboys delighted in reading to her from tbe newspapers.
Scarcely bad Mrs. Sandboys given vent to this bit of her mind,'' than tbe forms of long Postlethwaite and little Ann Lightfoot appeared at the door, to give the miserable Cursty warning." Ann Light-foot begged to state, that the coals were beginning to run so short, and the large fire Mr. Sandboys had just made up to dry his clothes and shoes had so reduced their small stock, that they would be left without a spark in the range below stairs; and they had made up their minds to leave the very next day, for the kitchen was so damp, that, without a fire, they knew it would be the death of them.
Sandboys remonstrated, saying, that some of the slate-carts from the quarries at Honister would be sure to be passing the house on their way to Cockermouth, and they might order them to bring him a return cargo of coals from Qreat Southern. But Postlethwaite, with a pertinacity the reverse of pleasant, replied, that he had thought of all this before, if his master had not; and had watched two days consecutively, without seeing a single cart; Master Jobby, besides, had told him he knew there was no one working at the quarries, for he had not heard the sound of the blasting during the last fortnight. Without beer, without meat, without tea, without sugar, without coals, and, what was more, without tobaccoas he had been for the last ten daysPostlethwaite observed, he thought it was hard his master should expect him and Ann to stop, when the lassie was almost starved : it would be far better that they should leave the family to share amongst them the few provisions remaining.
Here Ann Lightfoot began to wipe the tears from her eyes with the corner of her apronan action that produced a series of sympathe-tieal sobs from Mrs. Sandboys, who hysterically gurgled out, that it was impossible to tell what would become of them all in that dreadful lonely, damp place,without medicineor doctoror dinneror even the means of warming, or lighting, or cleaning themselves!
It was at this juncture that Elcy entered the room, her blue eyes bathed in a flood of tears, to pour into her father's bosom the fate of her beloved piggy!" Overpowered with this battery of hysterics, and the accumulated distresses and disaffection of his united household, Sandboys would have rushed from the apartmentand, indeed, did make an effort to do so; but remembering the paucity of his attire, he plumped rapidly down again, wrapping his blanket round him with the dignity of an Indian chief.
It was impossible, however, after a fortnight's low living, to maintain for a length of time anything like grandeur of soul, so Sandboys soon got to participate in that depression of spirits which, owing to the spare diet, had begun to pervade the whole household at Hassness. In a few minutes the would-be stoical Cursty was melted, like the rest of them, into tears. Now blubbering, now
.snivelling, now sobbing, he proceeded to appeal to the generosity of I'ostletliwaite and the feelings of Ann Lightfoot, he spoke of their long services, and how the affection between the master and the servant was the pride of their native county, and imploringly besought them not to leave him in his present position, but to wait only a few days longer, when their friends and neighbours could not fail of returning; for he was convinced London wickedness must pall, after a brief experience, upon the pure and simple minds of the people of Buttermere; and he wound up by pointing to his children, and begged of them not to force him to drag those dear innocents into the foul contamination of a London life.
This appeal had not the desired effect. Postlethwaite, although he had been with Sandboys since a boy, and looked upon Jobby, from long association, almost as a child of his own,and although in the most lively period of the village, he had never been known to take part in the festivities, nor had made his appearance at a Merry Night," for the last fifteen yearsnevertheless, felt himself, after the departure of the Excursion-train of his fellow villagers, lonely and ill-used, in not being allowed to participate in the general holiday. The consequence was, that Mr. Sandboys' eloquence was utterly lost upon the surl iiless that had usurped the place of his usual regard and respect for his master.
Moreover, Ann Lightfoot had been unable to get over the loss of her Jwohnny," whom, with a jaundiced eye, she saw clattering away, in calkered boots, at all the merry nights of London, now standing up in many a square-eight reel, or now kneeling at the feet of some fause-feaced fair," in the sly vagaries of the Cushion-dance. Under these circumstances, she had passed her evenings unusually lonely, even for Buttermere; and having no lover to sit up for at night, she had usually spent her leisure time with Postlethwaite, mutually grumbling by the kitchen fire, and filling his mind with ideas and desires for London enjoyments, to which he would otherwise have been an entire stranger. Accordingly. Ann Lightfoot was as little inclined as Deaf Postlethwaite, and Deaf Postlethwaite as little inclined as Ann Lightfootfor the grumblings of the one were echoed in the growlings of the otherto be in any way modified by their master's appeal to their feelings. So Postlethwaite murmured out that they had made up their minds to go the next day, without further warning.
Sandboys, shuddering, saw the coming desolation of his home, and for a moment had serious thoughts of calling in the constable to make them fulfil their engagements. But, alas, his next remembrance was that the constable, like the grocer, and the blacksmith, and the cobblers, had gone up to London to see the Great Exhibition.
The wretched Cursty resigned himself to his fate. But Fate had still something worse in store for him. No sooner had the servants discharged themselves, than Mrs. Sandboys unmasked a new grievance, and opened a full battery upon him, as he sat dismal and desponding, in the blanket, sipping his gruel in deep despair. She told him, as she handed him the clean shirt she had been airing, that she would ad-
vise him to take great care of itthat was the last their stock of soap would allowhim to haveit might be formonthsand shewould advise, too, him to do, as he had read to her from the newspaper the other day, the nasty, filthy Russians didand grease it all over well, so that lie might wear it until it dropped off his body, for she could tell him he wouldn't have another until he went to fetch that Harker from the Great Exhibition. She did not mind, she told him, so much about the loss of her teasevere trial as that was to her, and requiring all her Christian fortitude to bearthe want of beer was little or no privation to herit was the servantsthe poor, hard-working servants that she felt for. The dearth of fresh meat did not affect her it was her dear Elcy's complexion that she looked at; she could have gone barefoot all her life herself, but the idea of her children going about the earth shoeless, realized a wretchedness that she never could have imagined when she left her father's home.
Still this was nothingwretchedness was nothingstarvation was nothingshoelessness was nothing, compared with the want of soap she could bear anything but dirt. It was the terror of that had kept her from going to London, and now she saw that, in spite of all her efforts, Mr. Sandboys' obstinacy about his trumpery wickedness would bring upon her those very horrors which she had made so many sacrifices to avoid. She did not care about any of his Great Exhibitions, only all she knew was, that she would rather go through any wickedness than live in the dirt that she could see he was forcing her into. Stay in Hassness she would not: and she had made up her mind, as Mr. Sandboys would not leave it, that she would throw herself on Messrs. Brag and Steal, and trust to themfor they were her father's lawyersto make him provide her with a separate and comfortable maintenance. Dearly as she once had loved him, she loved cleanliness more, and it remained for him to say whether they were to continue any longer together in the same wholesome state in which they had lived for thirty long years. And having given vent to her feelings, she seized the bed-candlestick and marched indignantly into Elcy's room, where she declared her resolution to pass the night.
Sandboys, in the enthusiasm of his excited feelings and the sad prospect of his threatened widowerhood, would have jumped up and followed her; but again remembering the paucity of his attire, sank back into his chair. In a few minutes it struck him that he had been sitting with his feet in the pail until the water had become as cold as that of the brook into which he had tumbled, and he began to think that, by remaining in his present position, he was perhaps adding another cold to the one he bad already caught, in his fatal attempt at theoretical and practical pig driving.
For the first time since his wedding-day, Cursty Sandboys was left to monopolize the amplitude of the matrimonial feather-bed, and no sooner had he rested his nightcap on his pillow, than there began to pass before his mind a dismal diorama of all the incidents of the day. As he looked upon the picture of the destitution, and desolation, and devastation, and denudation of his home, he half-relented of his stern
resolve. For himself and Mrs. Sandboys he feared not the infection of the Great Metropolis; but it was the young and trusting Elcy, and the too-adventurous Jobbythat caused the trepidation of his soul. First he thought of the sufferings and the privations around himand then he asked himself whether he were making his children and his household suffer these for what was a mere whim on his own part. Was not the sacrifice he required too much for youthful minds, and was he not once young himself) The reply of experience was, that he certainly had been young, but that he never had felt any wish to travel further than ten miles from his native valley. And as the conflict of affection and determination went on in bis brain, he now felt assured it was all selfishness on his part to keep his children locked up in abstemious solitudeand the next moment was declaring that he should be a woman, and worse than a woman, if he were weak enough to allow them whom he loved best in all the world to be exposed to the vicious allurements of the Great Metropolis. Now he was all iceand now the ice was thawing with the brine of his tearsnow he was rockand now, like Hannibal, he was cutting a way towards London through his bosom with the vinegar of repentance.
The first thing that met Mr. Sandboys' eyes in the morning was the pair of trousers in which he had driven the pig on the previous day. Again and again he gazed upon the ruins, for, until that moment, be had no definite idea as to the tatterdemalion state of bis nether garments. The legs hung in long strips down the chair-back, more like shreds of list than human pantaloons; and, as he looked at them, he bethought him, for the first time, that his other pair, which he had just had made of his own grey, had been sent a fortnight previously to Johnson, the Loweswater tailor, to be altered, by Mrs. Sandboys, who took a great pride in her Cursty's appearance, and found fault with the cut of them, declaring they were not sufficiently tight at the knees, or wide enough over the boot, for the last new fashion.
Sandboys felt it was in vain for a man to talk of independence, who was destitute of pantaloons, and, fearing even to speak of the subject to his wife, lest a repetition of the previous night's scene might be enacted, sent a private message to his son Jobby, requesting his attendance to a conference in the bed-room.
Jobby, when informed of the primitive and paradisiacal condition of his parent, chuckled inwardly as he foresaw the dilemma in which the disclosure he had to make would place the nether half of the old gentleman. Accordingly, when Sandboys confidentially solicited him in put on his father's shoes, and make the greatest possible haste over to Johnson for his father's best trousers, it was with some difficulty that his son could inform him, with that respect which is due to a parent, that, on his last fruitless visit to Brackenthwaite, John Coss had told him he was going to call at Loweswater, on his way to Carlisle, and take up all the Johnsons, both uncle and nephew, for the mail train to London.
This was more than poor Sandboys expected, and a heavy blow to
him, for he foresaw that the proprieties of life would compel him to keep between the sheets, until such time as he could venture to broach the subject of his denuded and destitute state to his better half. To lie in bed was his only resource; but to lie in bed was to make him more and more sensible of the utter destitution in which he was involved. He bad received no newspapers for a fortnight, and of all things he loved his newspapers the dearest. The loss of them in such a state, at such a time, he felt more than all. He might, perhaps, have borne the absence of his pantaloons with all the pride of martyrdom; but to be cut off from connexion with the outer world of wickedness, in which he took such extreme interest, was more than human philosophy or mountain stoicism could bearfor what is solitude without a newspaper Here was he, three hundred and one miles from London, in a lonely house, without a single daring robbery" to comfort him, or a diabolical murder" to put life into him! All the "successful swindling" of the metropolis was going on without his knowledge; and the excursionists from his native county were, he felt satisfied, being plundered, one and all, without his being, as he longed to be, in any way privy to it!
In this situation, thus contemplating, Mr. Sandboys passed the daya Zimmerman between the blankets. At last, as the shades of night began to shut out Melbrake from before bis bed-room window, and when Mrs. Sandboys came to his bedside for the basin which had contained his thin meal of gruel, as he sat up to receive her he humbly petitioned her, with a melancholy shake of the tuft on the top of his white cotton night-cap, to allow him one of the old newspapers and a light, so that he might relieve his mind by perusing some of the trials at the Central Criminal Court; if he might be allowed to choose, he would prefer that Observer and supplement which contained those charming twenty columns of the last frightful London murder.
But to make the request was to open afresh the vials of Mrs. Sandboys' wrath; for she gave him plainly to understand that, coal-leas as they were below, Postlethwaite had been obliged to fell some of the trees, and that the holly was so green that she had been forced to burn every newspaper in the house in her struggles to make a fire. Indeed, were it not that they had mustered ail hands, and taken turn and turn about at the bellows, every fifteen minutes, all the day through, the family would not have been able to have had a mouthful of anything warm to eat; and now that the last double Times had gone, she had left Postlethwaite and Ann and Elcy and poor Jobby seated round a tireless grate, in the circular drawing-room, partaking of oatmeal mixed in cold water by way of tea.
Bitterly conscious of his deficiency as regarded pantaloons, and feeling acutely the privation as well as the destruction of his newspapers, the otherwise benevolent soul of Sandboys reverted for a moment into the primitive selfishness of savage life; and, seeing no other sorrows but his own, he angrily glared on Mrs. Sandboys, and burst out, How dar'sta, Aggy, burn t' papers?"
Mrs. Sandboys recoiled! It was the first time she had ever heard her dear Cursty address her in such a tone. Her woman's heart fell, and she whimpered out, as she threw herself on the bed, I cuddent help it, Cursty, an if I cud, thar was nae a candle in t' house for tha to read by."
Cursty fell back upon his pillows, and putting his hands over his eyes, saw vividly pass before his imagination, his house without candle, his servants without fire, his wife without soap, his boy without shoes, and himself without breeches!
In that one moment he perceived that it was useless to think of holding out any longerLondon lost its horrors compared with the privations of Hassness; so gulping down the cup of bitterness, he told his wife he had made up his mind to be off to the metropolis the next morning.
The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when there again rose up before bis eyes the direful gashes of his inexpressiblesthe barefooted state of his boy! But Mrs. Sandboys soon put an end to all suggested difficulties, and that evening saw the happy Aggy sitting by the bed-side of her beloved Cursty, and, by the light of a lamp made out of fat bacon and darning-cotton, sewing away at one of the lacerated legs of the trousers, with a light heart, and the strongest black thread; while Elcy was taking the bows off a pair of her mother's .slides, which, at a family consultation, it had been arranged would serve to equip Jobby, at least for the walk to Cockermouth, where he and his father might, perhaps, be able to provide themselves with necessaries for the voyage to London.
Previous to leaving Hassness the next morning, Mr. Sandboys summoned the whole of his family together into the dining-room, and addressed them in a cheerful though solemn manner, saying he regretted to see that, under their late trials, they had evinced an unpbilosophical want of vivacity, which he considered to be utterly unworthy of the hardy natives of Cumberland. He wished it, therefore, to be distinctly understood, that he accompanied them to London upon a single condition only, and that wasthat they one and all made up their minds, come what might, to enjoy themselves.
How the Sandboys got to Townthe misadventures that happened to them on the roadtbe difficulties that the family experienced m obtaining shelter when they reached the metropolishow they were glad to accept of any wretched hole to lay their heads in for the night; and when they did obtain a bed, the trouble that Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys found in their endeavours to get their two selves fairly into itthe dire calamity that befel them while reposing in it, and how excessively hard they found it under these, and many other circumstances, to carry out the principle of enjoying themselves, all this, and much more, remains to be told in the succeeding -chapters of this eventful history.
" Han' me that perpe, weyfe! I'll amnik an' think, ^iny, dnnnet cry, we ne'er did wrong; The truth 111 state, whate'er teka pleaee,
To Caret sizes when I gang; We plenty hev, well dui what'a reeght, weyfe, An' whop (hope) beath lang may happy be. Now supper's ruddy, weep nae mair, weyfe.
Ay fain I'd see a smeyle free thee."Bad Newt.
Mr. Sandboys prided himself on being a bit of a philosopher." His great weakness consisted in his imaginary strength of mind. In his college days at St. Bees he had been charmed with the classic chronicles of Grecian stoicism and Roman fortitude, and, ever since, had been endeavouring to talk himself, out of all feeling and affection, into the hero. To his great self-satisfaction, he now believed he could bear any stroke of Fate, however severe or unexpected, without so much as a wink of his mind's eye," and he flattered himself that he had arrived at that much-to-be-desired state of insensibility which would enable him, like a Buttermere Brutus, to hand his own son Jobby over to the Carlisle hangman with no more compunctionas he delighted to tell that young gentleman, much to his horrorthan he would take one of his lean sheep" to Lanthwaite Green Fair.
And yet, truth to say, the heart of the heroic Mr. Sandboys was as soft as new bread, though he would have had the world believe it was as hard and dry as sea biscuit. If Cursty had any mettle at all in his constitution it was that particular kind of fusible alloy" which melts at the least warmth, and loses all consistency immediately it gets into hot water.
No metaphysician has ever yet explained why poor perverse human nature always fancies it has a special talent for doing something the very opposite to that in which it happens to excel. Doubtlessly, if the truth could be known, we should find Sir John Herschel secretly regarding himself as a small astronomer, but taking great pride in his imitation of frying sausages; and Faraday thinking little of his discoveries in diamagnetism, but flattering himself that he could palm a pea better than any thimble-rigger in the kingdom. Professor Owen, for what we know, may despise himself as a comparative anatomist, but think far from meanly of his abilities as a player on the bones, and Archbishop Whately in his own eyes shine less in logic than in the mixture of a lobster salad, or the brewing of whiskey punch.
Even so was it with Mr. Cursty Sandboys! Naturally kind-hearted, and weak almost to an extreme, he conceited himself that be was firm and immoveable, amid the storms of life, as a human light-house, or as light-hearted and lively in the midst of all his ups-and-downs" as the celebrated old Buoy at the Nore. Nothing he coveted more titan
decision of character, and yet no man was more undecided. Theoretically he was steel, but practically he was only case-hardened with a surface of philosophy.
As he journeyed along the road to Cockermouth, he was busy revolving in his own mind the incidents of the previous week. Had he allowed himself to be conquered by circumstances? Had he permitted the loss of his nether garments to wrest him from his purpose? Had he, because deprived of the distinctive feature of his outward man," been led to play the woman? Had he forgotten all that he had been so long teaching himself, and lost all that made Man admirable when be lost his breeches? True," he said, Man was but a savage without such thingsbut then," he asked himself, "might he not become effeminate with them?"
And as he trudged along the winding Hause, chewing the cud of his thoughts, the Buttermere philosopher got to look upon the ineffable part of Man's apparel as one of the many evils of civilized Lifethe cause of much moral weakness and social misery. If such garments were not naturally effeminate, why," he went on inquiring of himself, should all women have so great a desire to wear them? Were they not," he said, the cause of more than half of the conjugal contentions of the present day?Was not matrimony, generally, one long struggle between man and wife as to who should possess these insignia of the domestic monarchy?"
And thus the unconventional Mr. Sandboys proceeded in his sartorial catechism, until he got to convince himself that Sin originally came into the world with breeches, and that the true meaning of the allegory of the apple was, that the Serpent had tempted the great Mother Eve with a pair.
While Mr. Sandboys was thus philosophically reviewing his conduct, the more domestic partner of his bosom was mentally "looking after" the luggage that she had left behind in charge of Postlethwaite and Ann Lightfoot, until she could send a suitable conveyance for it. Though it had been agreed that the family were but to stay a week in the Metropolis, and Mr. Sandboys, knowing that women, when on the wing, want the Peacock's faculty of packing up their fine feathers in the smallest possible compass, had given strict injunctions that they should take only such things as were absolutely necessary. But, primitive as were the denizens of Buttermere, and far removed as its mountain-fastnesses seemed from the realms of fashion, tbe increased facilities of intercommunication had not failed to diffuse a knowledge of Polkas and Crinolines among the female portion of its pastoral people; so that what with best bonnets," and dress caps," that had to be stowed away in square black boxes kept expressly for themand gowns, with so many breadths and flounces, that, to prevent being crushed, they required nearly a whole trunk to themselvesand morning dresses and evening dressesand cardinals and paletotsand be-laced and be-frilled night-caps and night-gownsall equally incompressibleand muffs and tippetsand whiskers and artificial flowers and feathersand bustles and false fronts, that did not admit of any
more compact stowageand bottles of bandoline and perfumeand pots of cold cream and lip salveand writing-cases and work-boxes-all and every of which the ladies declared to be positively indispensable for tbe trip;what with these things, we say, it was found that by the time the packing was done, the boxes, and trunks, and portmanteaus, and carpet-bags, and hat-cases, and band-boxes, and umbrellas, that constituted the family luggage, amounted to no less than three-and-twenty different articles. Each of these the careful Mrs. Sandboys had duly set down and numbered on a card which she carried with her, and which she kept continually drawing from her bosom and reading over as she journeyed along.
Jobby and Elcy walked in the rear; the former thinking of nothing, but full of what are called animal spirits, skittish as a colt, and unable to continue long at any one thing,now throwing up a stone and endeavouring to hit it as it descended through the air, to the imminent peril of his mother's bonnetthen making "ducks and drakes" along the lake with small pieces of the mountain slatethe next moment aiming at some bird as it skimmed across the water the next, scampering up the hill-side with his sister Elcy's miserable-looking and most unsportsman-like Italian greyhound at his heels, starting the mountain sheepand then descending with several sprigs of the "whin" or furze bushes in his hand, and stealthily dropping them into his father's coat-tail pocket, in the earnest hope of seeing the old gentleman shortly sit down to rest himself by the way on some neighbouring crag.
Elcy, with her eyes moist with tearsthough she hardly knew why was too sad to talk, or mind the tricks that her brother played with either her father or her poor Little shivering pet dog. It was the first time she had ever left her home; and though her woman's curiosity made her long to see London, of which she had heard so much, the departure from Hassness was like leaving some dear old friend. The mountains, which for so many years she had seen, flushed with the young light, first thing" when she opened her eyes in the morning, she had got to know and almost love Like living things. She had watched them under every aspect,with the white snow lying on them, and bringing them so close that they looked like huge icebergs floating towards heror with the noonday sun Lighting up their green sides, and the shapes of the opposite peaks and crags painted in black shadow upon themor with die million stars shining in the grey sky above their heads, like luminous dust, and their huge dim forms sleeping in the haze of the moonlight, and looking like distant storm-clouds rather than solid masses of rock.
Each of the hills round about had its own proper name, and so had assumed a kind of natural personification in Elcy's mind. Every one, to her fancy, was a different being associated with a different feeling; for some she had the same reverence as for the aged, while some, woman-like, she half loved for the sense of power they impressed her with. And as she journeyed rl*ng the banks of the lakes they surrounded, and each fresh turn brought some new mountain
form into sight, a dark train of melancholy thoughts swept across her mind like the shadows of clouds flitting along some peaceful meadow, and she trod the path with the sound of an ideal bell droning in her ears.
Thus the Sandboys travelled on to the house of John Coss, the cobbler post-boy, in the hopes of getting some sort of a conveyance over to Cockermouth. But though John Coss was nowhere to be met with, they were, luckily, just in time to catch the Loweswater post-master, who, finding that all the correspondence in that part of the country had come to an end, had stuck up a notice that the letterbox at his office would be closed till after the Great Exhibition, and was then on his way, in the empty mail-cart, to the Cockermouth railway station.
Once at Cockermouth, the necessary preparations were soon made for the Sandboys' journey to the great metropolis. Jobby was shod, Cursty himself was breeched; Postlethwaite, Ann Lightfoot, and the things" were duly removed from Hassness, and everything seemed to promise that tbe family really would enjoy themselves at last.
They were but just in time for obtaining their outfit. All the principal gentry and tradesmen had already left the town, and the smaller fry were making ready to follow the examples of their bigger brethren. The shutters of the Castle were closed, the mail-coach of the General" had been put on the rails and carried to London, with the Lord Paramount" shut up inside of it. At Derwent House the blinds had all been papered, and the gilt frames and chandeliers put into brown holland pinafores, while Lawyer Steel himself had pleaded a set-off, and moved himself, by writ of some kind or other, to the capital. The little grey pony, upon whose body" Coroner Brag had so often sat," had been put upon board-wages at the Globe Inn. Doctor Bell and his brother Dickey," the cheerful, smiling, good-natured medical men" of the town, had for a time ceased that friendly interchange of commodities which consisted in the giving of physic and the taking of wine with their several patients, and finding that their invalids had all taken to their last legs,"that the consumptions had gone galloping offand that the declines had suddenly got out of the last stage," and jumped into the first train, the Esculapian Adelphi had felt each other's pulse, and respectively prescribing a few weeks' change of air for their complaints, had both started after their patients, as lively as return hearses.
Even Jonathan Wood, the quondam Boniface, who, like Atlas of old, used to have the whole weight of the Globe on his shoulders, and had supported it till he had positively got red in the faceeven jolly Jonathan himself had disappeared from the town. "The Sun," too, had lost all attraction to its attendant planets, who, no longer gravitating towards it, had flown off at a tangent to the metropolis.
But though there was neither heat nor light in the "Sun," at Cockermouth, still in the interior of the "Globe" there was a small fire, and here beside the grateful hobs of the cosey hostelry, Mr., Mrs., and the younger Sandboys located themselves until such time as ail was ready for the start
The journey from Cockermouth to Workington per rail is by no meana of an agreeable character. The line being in none of the moat flourishing conditions, every means for economizing the working expenses" have been resorted to. The men engaged upon it have been cut down to boys; so that the establishment has very much the look of a kind of railway academy, where the porters on the platform' are ever playing at marbles or leapfrog, where the policemen all wear pinafores, and where the clerks are taken to the station in the morning, and fetched" in the evening by the maids of their anxious parents. We have heard the united ages of the entire staff, but fear to mention the small amount, lest a too incredulous public should accuse us of magnifying, or rather parvifying the tenderness of their years. Suffice it that not a razor is used by the whole establishment; and that the staff,"we have it on the best authorityare allowed to give over work an hour earlier every Saturday evening, in consideration of its being tub-night"
With a further view to effecting that financial reform which is so popular at the present moment, the coal bills of the company recently underwent a minute scrutiny, and the important discovery madeafter working several very difficult sumsthat the heavy amount of eighteen shillings and a fraction weekly could be saved by using coals instead of coke; whereupon a resolution was immediately passed by the frugal directors, declaring that nothing but the best Lord Mayor's" should thenceforth be put into the company's fires. The result of this wise economy has been, that the engines on this line are perpetually smoking in the faces of the passengers, and pouring forth so lavish a volcanic eruption of blacks," that by the time the ladies and gentlemen reach the end of their journey, they are generally as dark-complexioned as if they had been unconsciously working or reading by the light of the very bestpatentwarranted infumible camphine lamps.
At Workington, the Sandboys, who, on their arrival, much to the horror of the cleanly Mrs. S., might have been taken for a family of Ethiopian serenaders, having bleached themselves as well as possible with their pocket handkerchiefsMrs. Sandboys standing on tiptoe the while to wipe the nasty, filthy blacks from out the wrinkles and dimples of her dear Cursty's faceproceeded to make the necessary inquiries touching the continuation of their journey to London.
At the station, all was confusion and bustle, and noise and scrambling, and bewilderment Porters in green velveteen jackets, with the shoulders worn white with repeated loads, were huiTying to and fro some with carpet-bags in their handsothers with boxes on small-wheeled trucks, rattling over the flooring through the office. Impatient groups were gathered close round the pay-clerksteam-engines, eager to start, were fizzing violently, as if a thousand knives were being ground at onceand large bells were ringing quickly to announce the arrival of some train which presently came bumping heavily alongside the station. Mrs. Sandboys had pursued some porter who, much to her astonishment and indignation, had, without
a word, walked away with the united luggage of the family, immediately on its being deposited outside the station door; while Mr. Sandboys himself had gone to learn how he and his party were to proceed.
"Where are you going to?" rapidly inquired the good-tempered and bustling station-master, as he squinted at the clock.
" T* Bull and Mouth, Holborn Hill, London," answered Mr. Cursty Sandboys, giving the whole address of his proposed resting-place in the metropolis.
" Don't know any Bull and Mouth at Holborn Hill," replied the busy official, who, called off by the guard, had not caught the last word of Mr. Sandboys' answer.
" Dustea say tha dunnet ken t' Bull an' Mouth," exclaimed the anxious Cursty, lifting up his bushy eyebrows with evident astonishment. I thowt aw t' warl was kenning t' Bull an' Mouth, Holborn Hill."
Mr. Sandboys having, during his first and only visit to London (whither he had been summoned on a trial concerning the soundness of some cattle that he had sold to one of the dealers who yearly visited Buttermere), resided with the rest of the witnesses for some ten days at the Bull and Mouth Inn, and knowing that it was a place of considerable reputation, could not help expressing his surprise that a person filling a situation which brought him into almost daily communication with the metropolis, should be unacquainted with one of the most celebrated of its public inns.
The Workington station-master, however, unfortunately for Mr. Sandboys, referred to a different quarter of the world. The Holborn Hill he spoke of, as possessing no Bull and Mouth, was not the well-known metropolitan acclivity, so trying to the knees of cab and omnibus-horses, where coal waggons and railway vans are continually sticking" half-waywhere bachelors' kettles" are perpetually being boiled in less than five minutes, and where sheets of gutta percha, like hardbake, and tubing of the same material, like rolls of German sausages, for ever meet the eye. No; the Holborn Hill which the Workington official alluded to was an obscure point of land situate at the extremity of the county of Cumberland, on the banks of the Duddon, and with not even so much as a village nearer than half a dozen miles. Well therefore might the station-master, thinking only of that Holborn Hill to which the Workington trains daily travelled, make answer to the poor unsophisticated Mr. Sandboys, that he had never heard of any Bull and Mouth in that quarter.
" But if you're going to Holborn HilL sir," he added, squinting at the clock, you'd better be quick, for in another moment the train will be off"
"Odswingel whilk be t' carriages, man?" hastily inquired Mr. Sandboys, who had been given to understand at Cockermouth that he should have to remain a good half hour at Workington before he could proceed on his journey. No sooner was he told where to take his seat, than hurrying after his wife and children, he dragged them from
the other ride of the platform, whither his "good lady" had followed her things," and scrambled them, despite all remonstrance, into the conveyance indicated.
In an instant after their being seated, the terminus resounded with the slamming of the carriage doorsthe large dustman's bell was shakenthe whistle was blownthe engine gave two or three long-drawn sighsthe carriages creaked with the incipient motion, and their intermediate chains rattled loudly as they were successively stretched to then* utmost lengtha kind of hysteric chuckle from the engine succeeded, as the wheels slipped round upon the rails then its gasps got shorter and quickerand then, panting hurriedly, the whole train was borne rapidly along on its way to Whitehaven.
In a few minutes Mr. Sandboys began impressing upon the partner of his bosom how fortunate it was that he had taken the precaution of checking the information that he had received from those mischievous boys at Cockermouth by the statements of the respectable station-master at Workington. Mrs. Sandboys, however, was in a reverie concerning the fate of her luggage. She had seen that impudent fellow of a porter who had seized it and carried it away from her, place is, she was confident, in the carriages on the other side of the station, for, as she said, she had never taken her eyes oil it after the man had set hands upon it
But Mr. Sandboys assured her that she must, in the flurry and the noise, have made some mistake, and that she seed be under no apprehension, for tbe boxes, being all labelled London," would be sure to have been placed in the London train. Mrs. Sandboys, in reply, however, begged to inform her husband, that the porter had declared that the other train was going to London; upon which Mr. Sandboys observed, that surely the station-master must know better than any one else, and it was from that person's lips he had received the information upon which he had acted.
In little more than three hours from the time of their leaving Workington, the railway-train came to a stoppage in front of an humble tittle station, along the platform of which a porter in a north country dialect, almost as strong as his corduroy suit, went crying, Wha's fwor Hobworn HeeW"
" Here!" shouted Mr. Sandboys, wondering at the rapidity of the journey, as he let down the window of the carriage in which he was seated, and stared at the surrounding fields in astonishment at the extremely rural and uninhabited character of the said Holborn Hill. It was nothing at all like what it was when he was there, he said, half to himself; nor could he remember any place in tbe neighbourhood of London in any way similar to the desolate district at which he and his family were about to be deposited.
" Haista ony looggidge?" inquired the porter.
u Yes, mdeed," observed Mrs. Sandboys, sidling up to the porter; "three-an'-twenty packagesthree-an'-twenty packages there owt to h% young man,"
Mr. Cursty Sandboys kept twisting round about to try and discover some object that he could call to mind, and so assure himself of his presence in the Metropolis. At last, feeling convinced that, from the apparent absence of houses and people, it must be some suburban station, he ventured to ask the porter, as he and Mrs. Sandboys accompanied him forward to the luggage-van, how many minutes' walk he called it to London.
The porter stood still for a moment, looked in the face of Mr. SandboyB, and then, without saying a word, burst out laughing.
Mr. Sandboys, far from pleased at the man's manner, modified his
Kestion, and requested to know how many miles he called it to ndon.
Two hundred an' feafty, if't be an inch," was the laconic reply. Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys both heard the answer, and stared transfixed, as if electrified.
Then came the explanation.
It was, as Mrs. Sandboys had dreaded, their boxes, trunks, and bags had gone in the direction of Holborn Hill, London, while they, poor unhappy mortals, had been carried some fifty miles out of their road to Holborn Hill, Cumberland.
There was, moreover, a matter of two pounds to pay for the provoking journeybut it was useless complaining: besides, as Mr. Sandboys reminded them, they had all come out to enjoy themselves, and, therefore, notwithstanding the unpleasantness of their position, he trusted they would one and all put a smiling face on the matter.
This, of course, was easier said than done, for on inquiry it was found that they must remain in that' quarter some few hours before any train would arrive by which they could get back to Carlislethe way they had booked themselves to London.
Having, however, found out where they could get some eggs and bacon cooked, they retired to dine away the time, and were soon so well pleased with their cheer, that they were able to Laugh at their own mishap.
Mrs. Sandboys, nevertheless, was too intent upon the probable fate of her luggage to see much to laugh at in the mistake, while Elcy whose pet Italian greyhound had been locked up in the canine department of the London traincould think of nothing but her lost darling. Her whole study of late had been to fatten the miserable, shivering, scraggy, half-starved looking little animal upon which she had placed her affections. All her benevolence, however, had been wasted on the wretched creature. She had put it into flannel jackets, but still, to her great annoyance, it was perpetually trembling, like a blancmange,'' or a Lascar beggar. She fed it on the most nourishing food, for it cut her to the heart to see the dear look such a mere bag of bones," but the fat of the land was utterly thrown away on it. It was impossible by any means to give it the least tendency to corpulence. Despite all her efforts, its nose continued as sharp as a bayonetits legs had no more flesh on them than a bird'sits ribs were as visible as if its body were built out of wicker-workwhile
its tail was jointed and curled like the flexible tube to a cheap
imitation of hookah.
Still there was one consolation: Psyche" could not well be thinner had it been a martyr to tight lacing, its waist could not have been smaller; but what effect starvation might have upon such an animal, was more than poor Elcy dare trust herself to conjecture. She felt convinced in her own mind that the skeleton of the poor dear dumb thing would be all that she should find of it when she reached the Metropolis.
No such thoughts, however, troubled the brain of her brother, who, what with playing practical jokes upon Postlethwaiteteazing his sistercoaxing his motherand exploring the river Duddon, found plenty to occupy his time.
At length the hour for the arrival of the up train" at the Holborn-hill station came round, and in a few minutes after, the family were being carried swiftly along the road to Carlisle.
It was night when they reached the Car'el station; but the Sandboys, unused to travelling, and tired out with the misadventures of the day, were all fast locked in sleep. Postlethwaite was the only one belonging to them whose eyes were open, but he unfortunately was what he termed, with a natural desire to take the best possible view of his infirmitya little hard of hearing;" so that when the train stopped, and the porters paced the platform, shouting Change here for Lancaster! Change here for London!" not one of the party heard the important summons; but, still dozing, were whirled away, in blissful ignorance, towards the capital of Scotland instead of England.
It was past midnight when the train halted for the collection of tickets, a little way out of Edinburgh. The letting-down of the carriage-window by the railway officer on the platform roused the still slumbering Mr. Sandboys.
"Tickets please! Tickets!" shouted the official, as he turned his bull's-eye full into the face of the yawning, dazzled, and bewildered Cursty. That gentleman proceeded with as much alacrity as he could, under the circumstances, to draw out from the bottom of bis purse the several pieces of card-board which had been handed to him on paying bis fare to town.
The collector no sooner glanced his eye at the tickets delivered to him, than he exclaimed, quickly, These wont do, sir!these here are for London, and this is Edinburgh."
" Edinburgh 1" echoed Mr. Sandboys, his jaw dropping like a carriage dog's at the sound of the word
"Edinburgh!" repeated Mrs. Sandboys 1 "Oh, CurstyOh, Cursty, what iver 'ull become of us aw."
" Edinburgh!" cried Jobby, waking up. Oh my I here's a lark, Elcy."
" Yes, sir, it's Edinburgh, sure enough," returned the railway official, You should have changed carriages at Carlisle." Then, holding out his hand to the amazed Mr. Sandboys, who kept rubbing his eyes to rouse himself out of what he fancied must be a continua-
1851 ; or, tbi adventures of
tion of his dream, the collector added, Three pound fifteen shillings,
and a quarter-past nine, sir."
" What dustea mean, man, by three paund fifteen shilling, and a wharter-past ninel" angrily inquired Mr. Sandboys.
" I thought yon asked me, what you had to pay, sir, and when the next train left for London."
" I did nowt of t' kind, man; and I tell tha plain, I wunnet pay na* mair. I'se paid aboon twa pannds, an' been carrud twa buuderd meyle out of t' way awruddy."
But Mr. Sandboys soon found all opposition was useless. On his tearing the carriage, he was taken between two policemen to the station, and there plainly given to understand, that if the money were not forthcoming, he would have to finish the night in durance vile; and though Cursty was ready to become a martyr, rather than submit to bo imposed upon," still Mrs. Sandboys was of a different way of thinking, and reminded him of his determination to enjoy himself under all circumstances.
Mr. Sandboys, after some further expostulation, was prevailed upon to do as his wife desired; and accordingly, having paid the three pounds demanded, he and his family made the best of their way to the nearest inn, there" without a thing to put on," as Mrs. Sandboys expressed itto slumber away the hours till morning.
At a quarter-past nine the Sandboys family proceeded to make a third attempt to reach the Metropolis, and for some time nothing occurred to interfere with the progress of their journey. Mr. Sandboys, who, on leaving Edinburgh, had been inclined to believe that the fates had declared he was never to get to London, finding matters proceed so propitiously for so long a period, had just begun to take a more favourable view of his destiny, when, on their arriving at Lancaster, a strange gentleman entered the carriage, which he and his wife and children had previously enjoyed all to themselves.
For awhile all parties remained silent,the strange gentleman being quietly engaged in examining the Sandboys, while the Sandboys, one and all, did the same for the strange gentleman; and truly the gentleman was so very strange, that the curiosity of his fellow-travellers was not to be wondered at The lower part of his face was muffled up closely in comforters, his eyes perfectly hidden behind a pair of green spectacles, while his body was enveloped in a large Spanish cloak. On entering he took off his hat, which was one of the patent Gibus folding kind, and, pressing in the sidesmuch to the Sandboys' amazementbrought the crown down to the Level of the brim He next proceeded to remove the hair from his head, in the shape of an intensely black wigdisclosing, as he did so, not bald, but a closely-shaven crownand to put a seal-skin cap in its place. After this, he slid the green spectacles from before his eyes, carrying with them the large bushy pair of whiskers which were fastened to their sides, and which the moment before had half covered his cheeks; then, discarding his comforters, he unhooked the clasp of his el oak, and revealed the black japan leather of a policeman's
stock, and tbe tight stand-up oollax of a superintendent's undress uniform.
As the strange gentleman saw the whole eight eyes of the family
riveted upon him, he smiled good-hunaouredly at their amaaement; and, turning round to Mr. Sandboys, observed that he perceived they were from the country. Receiving a short reply in the affirmative, he-told them they needn't be alarmed at his making so different an appearance from when he entered the carriage, for it was part of his business to assume a variety of characters.
This set the Sandboys wondering more and more at their fellow-traveller; and the more they marvelled, the more pleased he became, smiling and simpering with evident self-satisfaction. At last, having kept them on the tenter-hooks for some short time, he informed them that he belonged to tbe Metropolitan Detective Police, and proceeded to give the delighted family a vivid and exciting sketch of his duties.
Impressed as Mr. Sandboys was with the utter wickedness of the city to which he was now rapidly journeying, this one adventure was sufficient, in his mind, to atone for all the previous mishaps of the trip, and he eagerly shifted his seat to that immediately opposite to the strange gentleman, so that he might get, from one so experienced in crime, as full an account of the corrupt ways of London as was possible, in the brief space of time that he and his fellow-traveller had to remain together.
In a few minutes Mr. Sandboys, with open mouth, eyes, and ears, was listening to an enumeration of the several descriptions of thieves common to the metropolis.
" You must know, sir," said his communicative companion, then are almost as many kinds of bad people as there are good in London; so that I can hardly tell which way to begin. Well, then, let me see," he continued, "the several descriptions of London thieves arecracksmen, or housebreakers; rampsmen, or footpads; bludgers and stick-slingers, or those who go out plundering with women; star-glazers, or those who cut out shop-windows; snoozers, or those who sleep at railway hotels; buzzers, or those who pick gentlemen's pockets; and wires, or those who do the same kind office for ladies(and here he bowed to the alarmed Mrs. Sandboys); thimble-screwers, or those who wrench watches from their chains; dragsmen, or those who rob carts and coaches; sneaksmen, or those who creep into shops and down areas; bouncers, or those who plunder by swaggering; pitchers, or those who do so by passing off one thing for another; drummers, or those who do the same by stupifying persons with drink; macers, or those who write begging letters; and lurkers, or those who follow the profession of begging. These include the principal varieties of prigs,' or light-fingered gentry, belonging to tbe Metropolis," said the strange gentleman.
" Odswinge 1" exclaimed Mr. Sandboys, but the rogues a' gotten comical neames of their ane. They'd wheer keynd of godfathers, m'appen."
"Aye, I shouldn't wonder 1 I shouldn't wonderI" returned Mr.
Sandboys' companion. "But many of the classes I've just mentioned have several distinct kinds of roguery belonging to them, and the generality of them seldom or never attend to more than one branch of the profession. For instance, those who devote their attention to robbing houses, rarely give their minds to picking pockets.
" Odswinge!" exclaimed the delighted, though intimidated Cursty.
"Then, again, the buzzer, or gentleman's pickpocket, is either the stook-buzzer, that is. the purloiner of pocket-handkerchiefs, or the tail-buzzer, seeking more particularly for sneezers (snuff-boxes), or skins and dummies, (purses and pocket-books.) Occasionally the same person may turn his hand to nailing propsthat is, stealing pins or brooches; but this, 1 can assure you, is not considered professionalany more than it is for a physician to bleed."
Mr. Sandboys lifted his eyebrows in evident wonderment
" So, too, the sneak si ii an," continued his experienced informant, "who is the lowest-class thief of alland a creature with whom the cracksman and mobsman (or tail-buzzer) would no more dream of associating, than a barrister would think of visiting an attorney."
Cursty's delight increased as the villanies of each particular class were described to him.
" These same sneaksmen, I must tell you," the chatty and sociable strange gentleman went on, comprise many different characters; among whom I may mention, not only the snoozers or railway sleepers, as we call them, and the deud-lurkers, or those who steal coats,
Here Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys exchanged glancea of mutual horror.
" Hence you see, sir, there may be strictly said to be only three classes of thieves, namely, the cracksman and the rampsman, who constitute what may be termed the thieves' aristocracythere being usually a certain amount of courage required in the execution of their depredations. Then the tail-buzzers and wires may be said to belong to the skilled or middle-class of thieves; while the sneaksmen or lurkers, who display neither dexterity nor bravery in their pecadilloes, may
be regarded, with the exception of beggars, as the lowest class of
Mr. Sandboys was charmed to find his theory of the wickedness of London confirmed by so extensive a catalogue of criminals, and he got to look upon his informant with a feeling almost amounting to reverence.
" For the pure beggar," continued the strange gentleman, every kind of thief has the most profound contempteven the sneaksman would consider himself mortally insulted if placed in the same rank with the shallow cove," that is to say, with the creatures that stand, half naked, begging in the streets. The bouncers, and pitchers, and flat-catchers are generally ranked as a kind of lower middle-class rogues and certainly they are often equal, in ingenuity at least, to the buzzers."
Mr. Sandboys, who had been drinking in every word of the strange gentleman's discourse with the greatest avidity, proceeded to thank him at its conclusion very warmly for his most interesting statement. Well, I thowt," he said, 'twas nae guid that seame London ; but odswinge if it doan't bang t' Auld Gentleman hissell, that it dui. Thee'st seed some feyne geames an' wickednesses now in thy tyme, I suddent wonder."
" Why, yes," replied his companion, persons in our position have great opportunities truly. There are more ways of getting money in London than earning it, I can tell you, sir. Indeed, to say the truth, industry seems the very mode which succeeds the worst of all there."
" I thowt so!I thowt so!" cried Cursty.
" But still, things aren't quite as bad as they used to be either. Why I remember the days when, regularly every Monday morning, there used to be a bullock hunt right through the principal streets of London got up by the prigsand very profitable it was, too. You see, the pickpockets would stop the drovers on the road, as they were bringing their beasts up to Smithfield on the Sunday nighttake one of the animals away from them by main force, put him into the first empty stable they could find, and the next morning set to and worry the poor brute till they drove him stark raving road. Then out they used to turn him into the public thoroughfaresstart him right away through London, and take advantage of the confusion and riot caused by his appearance in the crowded streets of the Metropolis, to knock the hats of all the gentlemen they met over their eyes, and ease them of their watches or purses."
"Weill well! well!" cried Mr. Sandboys, throwing up his hands in horror at the profundity of the wickedness; Dustea hear, Aggy," he continued, turning to his better half, Dustea hear, weyfe! and we be gangin' to the varra pleace. But tha wast sayin that t' fwok beant white so bad now-a-days, sir."
"No! no! not quite," observed Mr. Curaty's companion," but still bad enough, I can tell you. Now, I'll just repeat to you a trick I saw played the other day upon a simple country gentleman like yourself."
" Varra gmd! but they wunnet catch me, I can tell 'ee."
" It's what is called the Toothache Racket, and far from uncommon. Two men, you see, one of whom is provided with two small paper packets of salt exactly alike, go into the parlour of a tavern which they know countrymen are in the habit of using. The one with the salt, who enters some few minutes after the other, pretends to be suffering greatly from the toothache. The company, observing him to be apparently in extreme pain, begin to recommend different cures for the complaint One advises him to rub the gum with brandy another advocates the holding of a little cold water in the moutha third has never known the oil of tobacco to foil, and so on. The sufferer, however, is much obliged to them all, but declares that nothing gives himself relief but a little salt, in a paper similar to what he is then applying to his cheek.''
" The wicked hyp'crite!" involuntarily exclaimed the shnple-minded Cursty.
*' Shortly after this he quits the room, leaving his paper on the table. During his absence his "jolly," that is, his accomplice, who, as I said, came in a little while before the other, begins to Laugh at the idea of some salt, held outside the face, doing any good to the toothache, and says, of course, it's all the man's imagination. He then proposes to have a bit of fun with the absent invalid, and proceeds to empty all the salt out of the paper on the table, and fill its place with sawdust"
" What's he gangin' to be at," interrupted Mr. Sandboys, deeply interested in the tale.
" 1 n u few minutes the gentleman with the toothache returns, almost raving, and he pretends that the cold air has increased his pain to an intolerable degree. He makes a rush to tbe paper that he had left behind, and no sooner applies it to his cheek than he declares the salt gives him instantaneous relief; whereupon tbe whole room begin to titter, and the jolly, or accomplice, as I told you, is well nigh dying with laughter as he informs the simpleton it's nothing but fancy that's curing him, and that there's no salt at all in the paper. But the simpleton' declares he knows far better, for be filled it himself out of the salt-cellar just before he quitted borne. The jolly then offers to wager him a sovereign that there's not so much as a pinch in it, but the gentleman with the toothache is so certain about the matter, that he says it will only be robbing a man to take a bet on such a subject."
" The rwogue's gettin' honest aw of a sudden," cried Mr. S., with a chuckle.
" At last the rest of the company, finding the gentleman so positive over the business, get to say they don't mind being robbed on the same terms, and accordingly agree to bet him a sovereign or a crown all round, that the paper has no salt in it; whereupon the gentleman with the toothache, who has managed during the laughter at his expense to substitute the other packet from his pocket for the one
lying on the table, proceeds to unfold tbe paperexhibits the salt
contained in it to the astonished company, and then robs themas he candidly confessed he wouldof their money."
Mr. Sandboys had now heard so much, that he began to shudder at the idea of trusting himself within several miles of such wickedness, and felt strongly inclined to propose to his wife that they should return. However, not liking to confess his weakness, he again thanked his experienced companion, declaring that he considered their meeting one of the luckiest adventures in his life. What he had heard, he told him, would at least have the effect of putting him on his guard, and he would take good care, now he knew the artful ways of the rogues, that none of the London rascals should have an opportunity of imposing upon him.
" Now, there's another very common trick practised by the flat-catchers upon countrymen in London, with the greatest success," continued the loquacious strange gentleman. He should just have time to put Mr. Sandboys up to this, he added, before they reached the next station, where, he regretted to say, he should be compelled to leave him and his charming family. He expected, he said, as ha poked Mr. Sandboys in tbe ribs, and winked bis eye at him, to tall in with a party there whom he had been looking after these many months, for nailing a prop with a spark in it.
Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys were both extremely sorry to be obliged so soon to part with a gentleman from whom they confessed they had derived so much pleasure and profit.
The strange gentleman bowed, and proceeded with the promised information. Well," said he, as I before observed, one of tbe most common and most successful of the flat-catchers' tricks is, to pretend to put a countryman on his guard against the rogueries of the light-fingered gentry in town. They will tell him long stories, as to how the London thieves are taught to practise upon pockets with bells attached to them, so that they will ring with the least motion; and how it really is not safe for any one to walk the streets with even a sixpence in his possession."
"Now, 1 leant it keynd of the villans, Aggy, eh?" said Mr. S., jocularly, to his better half.
" When they have thus disarmed the chawbacon of all suspicion, they will begin to show himas a great secret of coursewhere they keep their money."
"Nae, will they now 1"
" Some will let him see how they've got it stitched in the waistband of their trowsers, while others will pull theirs from their fob, declaring they were told by one of the most experienced police-officers that it was quite as safe, and even safer, there than if it were sewed to their breeches, providedand on this, sir, I would impress upon you that the trick mainly liesit is rolled up quite tight, and then slipped into the watch-pocket edgewise, in a peculiar way. Whereupon they very kindly offer to put the countryman's money in his fob, and to stow
it away for him as safely as the experienced police-officer had done theirs."
" Yes, varra keyndly! varra! and preyme and seafe they'll staw it awa', HI be baund."
" Now, if you'll allow me your purse, sir, for one moment, Til show you how the whole affair is managed."
Mr. Sandboys drew forth from the pocket of his trowsers the little red cotton bag in which he carried his stock of gold and notes, and handed it over, as requested, to his fellow-traveller, saying, Ise varra 'bleeged, I'se sure; an' how I'll ever pay tha for all thy guidness, I dunnet ken. Beant it keynd of t' gentleman, now, Aggy 1"
But that lady made no reply; she merely watched, with intense interest, the operations of the strange gentleman.
" You see," said that person, as he took Mr. Sandboys' purse in his hand, and commenced rolling it backwards and forwards on his knee, it's all done by what we call palming. If I intended to deceive you, now is the time I should do it; for while you fancied I was reducing the contents of your purse to the smallest possible compass, I really should be substituting another for it; and then I should proceed to place it all safe for you, thus"
Here the strange gentleman proceeded to lift up tbe long-waisted waistcoat of the grateful Mr. Sandboys, and introduced the small red-cotton bag, in which his money was contained, into his fob; after which he gave the purse a peculiar twist round,for in this, he said, the London rogues made out that the whole virtue consisted. In reality, however, he told him, there was little or nothing at all in it, and it was only upon the very simplest people that the trick was ever attempted to be practised now-a-days.
" Well, I sud say as much, for onie mon cud see through t' trick wi hawf an eye," exclaimed the Buttermere philosopher.
" With such a gentleman as yourself, of course, a man would not stand the least chance," continued the stranger; especially after all I've put you up to; still the trick, common as it is, and extraordinary as I've not the least doubt it must strike a man of your discernment that it ever can succeedstill, I say, it has one thing to recommend it, which is, that the fob is perhaps, after all, about the most secure place for keeping one's money. In crowds or lonely places, nothing is more easy than for one man to pinion the arms behind a gentleman, while another rifles bis breeches-pockets; and as for carrying either a purse or a pocket-book in the coat-tailswhy you might as well invest it in one of King Hudson's railways at once! Whereas, in the fob, you see, it takes so long to get at it, that it is not possible to be extracted in that short space of time in which street-robberies require to be executed. So, if you take my advice, the advice, I think I may say, of a person of no ordinary experience, you will continue to keep your purse in your fob as I have placed it!"
Mr. Sandboys again expressed his deepest gratitude for all the
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1851 ; OX, THE ADT1OTUBE8 OF
from tbe depths of the narrow little tribe of a watch-pocket In which the strange gentleman had so kindly inserted it.
"Now, sir,if yon please!" again shouted the impatient collector. "Now, sb-r
Bat the mare impatient tbe man became, the more nervous grew Mr. Sandboys, and though he worked his fore-finger round and round, he could not, for the life of him, lay hold of the desired red cotton receptacle.
At length, with the united aid of Mrs. Sandboys and the collector, the fob was emptied of its contents, and then, to Curstys great terror, it was discovered that the strange gentleman, and assumed member of the Detective Police Force, bad practised upon the unsophisticated native of Buttermere the very trick against which he was pretending to put him on his guard. The purse was to all outward appearances the samethe interior, however, consisted of a congregation of whist counters and Bank of Elegance notes.
Tbe mere possession of such articles was in itself suspicious, but coupled with the absence of all tickets on the part of the Sandboys family, the circumstance appeared to assume so dishonest a character, that the collector made no. more ado but called a policeman and gave the whole family into custody; saying, they had neither tickets nor money in their possession, and that he found on the old one a whole pnrseful of sham notes and sovereigns; and that he had not the least doubt it was a deep laid scheme on his part to defraud the Company.
Mr. Sandboys raved, and Mrs Sandboys wept; Miss Sandboys intreated, while wicked Master Jobby could hardly contain himself for laughter.
The united battery of the family, however, proved of no avail, and the whole six of them, including Postlethwaite and Ann Lightfoot, were dragged off to the Town Hall, there to give some account of themselves, and urge every reason in their power why they should not, one and all, be committed as rogues and vagabonds, for a month, with hard labour, to the New Bailey.
" Until, man whit signifies repeynin', Owt gran kin', eaifteran', t wistiu', tweyniu', If down leyfe's lull we hp eeoleynin',
We ounot alack, Then gang on decent without wherauT,
Or It in gin' back. Leyfe, aaak' the beat oat 'a aowght aw plaeaia', As every day some fash coates taasin', An' oft eneugh the wheels want greeain'
To keep them ga'nn, Then bronce about nor tek sec preesin'
To nate oar awn."
The Sew IWl Epistle.
" There's sic a gaag in our towa, The (It-evil cannot wrang them, And cud yen gat 'em put i' prent Aw England caddent bang them.
Cheat who cheat can's tbe common rule,
Fwoaks a'cheatyenanither; For be that's nowtber kneave or fuol,
Sod seake! what brought him hither."
Mr. Sandboys, when he had time for reflection, began to see that he was very unpleasantly situated. The circumstances against him he was obliged to confess, when he came to review them judicially, did look particularly black.
In the first place, as he said to himself, he had not only been detected travelling without a ticket, and without money; but, what he felt was equally suspicious, without so much as a box, bag, or parcel among the whole half-dozen members of his family. If he accounted for the possession of the counterfeit coin and notes by declaring that he had been imposed upon, still, bow was he satisfactorily to explain to any unprejudiced mind that combination of mischances that had deprived him of his luggage?
Then, supposing, he went on arguing with himself, he could sufficiently prove his innocence to the authorities, to induce them to abandon the charge against him, what was to become of him?in a strange town, without a friend, without a shillingor without a change of linen for himself or any of the miserable members of the wretched family that looked up to him for protection.
If he escaped the prison, there was nothing that he could see left for him but the workhouse; and, unsophisticated as he was, still he was man of the world enough to know that the workhouse was much the worse of the two.
" Waist inuea! Waistomea!" he inwardly ejaculated, as he thought, of lus many troubles.
To enliven the terrors of his position, Mrs. Sandboys obliged him, on the road to the Police-office, by now sketching an imaginary picture of the whole family at work on the treadmill, and now painting in the darkest colours portraits of herself, Elcy, and Ann Lightfoot in the female ward of the union, picking oakum, and Cursty, Jobby, and deaf Postlethwaite, in the yard of tbe same wretched establishment, engaged in the gentlemanly occupation of cracking stones.
The only hope, she gave him to understand very plainly, that she could see for them was, to get tbe parish to pass them to their own county; and then, in the depths of her misery, she wished to guidness they had remained contented at Buttermere, and never made up their minds to enjoy themselves.
But no sooner had the entire six been crammed into the dock at the Police-office, and the Inspector cast his eyes towards the chief prisoner, than, suddenly recognising him as a fellow countryman, he asked him whether he remembered one Johnny Wren, who had left Buttermere some ten years before, and "listed" in the Life Guards.
This was a piece of good fortune which Mr. Sandboys, seeing how uncivilly the fates had lately treated him, was in no way prepared for; however, Johnny soon removed his fellow-countryman from the dock to a seat by his side; and when he had listened to the series of misadventures that had befallen his old friend, he begged of him not to worry himself any further about his troubles, as he had a few pounds by him, and should be most happy to place the money at his service.
When this bit of good luck had dispelled all the melancholy of the family, Johnny himself proceeded to tell Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys how, after 'listing in the Guards, he had received an injury while riding, and how he had then been presented with a berth in the London Police, whence he had been promoted to the post he at present filled in Manchester.
In a short time Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys had in a measure forgotten all their previous troubles and distresses, in the kindness and hospitality of Inspector Wren.
After riartaking of such fare as his establishment afforded, Mr. Sandboys proceeded, under the guidance of the Inspector, to take a glance round the town.
Manchester at any time is, perhaps, one of the peculiar sights that this country affords.
To see the city of factories in all its bustle and all its life, with its forests of tall chimneys, like huge masts of brick, with long black flags of smoke streaming from their tops, is to look upon one of those scenes of giant industry that England alone can show. As you pace its busy streets, you bear the drone of a thousand steam-engines, humming in tbe ears like a hive. As you sit in your home, you feel the floor tremble with the motion of the vast machinery, whirling on every side.
Here the buildings are monstrous square masses of brick, pierced
with a hundred windows, while white wreaths of steam puff fitfully through their walls. Many a narrow thoroughfare is dark and sunless with the tall warehouses that rise up like hricken cliffs on either side. The streets swarm with carts and railway-vans, with drivers perched high in the air, and lurrys"some piled with flat round bags of wool, others laden with hard square stony-looking blocks of cotton, and others filled with many a folded piece of unbleached woven cloth. Green covered vans, like huge chests on wheels, rattle past,the bright zinc plates at their sides, telling that they are hurrying with goods to or from some calender," dyer," or finisher."
At one door stands a truck laden with red rows of copper cylinders, cut deep with patterns. This basement or kitchen is transformed into the showroom of some warehouseman, and as you look down the steps into the subterranean shop, you can see that in front of where the kitchen range should stand, a counter extends, spread with bright-coloured velveteens, while the place of the dresser is taken up with shelves, filled with showy cotton prints. The door-posts of every warehouse are inscribed with long catalogues of names, like those of the Metropolitan Inns of Court; and along the front of the tall buildings, between the different floors, run huge black boards, gilt with the title of some merchant firm.
Along the pavement walk bonnetless women, with shawls drawn over their heads, and their hair and clothes spotted with white fluffs of cotton. In the pathway, and at the corners of the principal streets, stand groups of merchants and manufacturersall with then-hands in their pocketssome buried in their coat-tailsothers plunged deep in their breeches, and rattling the moneyand each busy trafficking with his neighbour. Beside the kerb-stones loiter bright* coloured omnibuses, the tired horses with their heads hanging low down, and their trembling knees bulging forwardand with the drab-coated and big-buttoned driver loitering by their side, and ready to convey the merchants to their suburban homes.
Go which way you will, the whistle of some arriving or departing railway-train shrieks shrilly in the ears; and at the first break of morning, a thousand factory bells ring out the daily summons to workand then, as the shades of night fall upon the town, the many windows of the huge nulls and warehouses shine like plates of burnished gold with the myriads of lights within. The streets, streaming with children going to or coming from their toil, are black with the moving columns of busy little things, like the paths to an ants' nest.
Within the factories, the clatter and whirr of incalculable wheels stuns and bewilders the mind Here, in long low rooms, are vistas of card, ing-engines, some disgorging thick sheets of white, soft-looking wadding, and others pouring forth endless fluffy ropes of cotton into tall tin cylinders; while over-head are wheels, with their rims worn bright, and broad black straps descending from them on every side, with their buckles running rapidly round, and making the stranger shrink as he passes between them On the floors above are mules after mules, with
long lines of white cops, twirling so fast that their forms are all blurred together; while tbe barefooted artisan between draws ont the slender threads as from the bowels of a thousand spiders. Then too there are floors crowded with looms all at work, tramping like an army, and busy weaving the shirts and gowns of the entire world, and making the stranger wonder how, with the myriads of bales of cotton that are here spun, and with the myriads of yards of cotton that are here woven, there can be one bare back to be found among the whole human family.
But Manchester, at the time of Mr. Sandboys visit, was not the Manchester of every-day life.
The black smoke no longer streamed from the tall chimneys of its factoriesthe sky above was no longer swarthy, as if grimed with the endless labour of the town, but clear, and without a cloud Not a cart, nor a van, nor a railway wagon, nor a lurry, broke the stillness of the streets, and the tramp of the policeman on his rounds was alone to be heard. The mills were all hushedthe fires were outthe engines were motionlessnot a wheel whirrednot a loom clackednot a cop twirled, within them. The workers, young and old, had all gone to take their share in England's holiday. To walk through the work-rooms that a little while ago had trembled and clattered with the stir of their many machines, impressed the mind with the same sense of desolation as a theatre seen by daylight The mice, startled at the strange sound of a footstep, scampered from out the neaps of cotton that lay upon the floor, and spiders had already begun to spin their webs in the unused shuttles of the looms. At night, the many windows of the milk and warehouses no longer shimmered, like gold, with the lights within, but glittered, like plates of silver, with the moon-rays shining on them from without The doors of the huge warehouses were all closed, and the steps grown green from long disuse. Not a cab stood in front of the iufirmury not a vehicle loitered beside the pavement in Market-street
In the morning, not a factory bell was to be heard; nor a "bus" to be seen bringing from the saburbs its crowds of merchants piled on the roof and packed on the splash-board in front of the coachman. Not a milkman dragged through the streets his huge tin can suspended on wheels; nor was a scavenger, with his long loose blue woollen shirt and round-crowned hat, to be met with.
On Saturday night, the thoroughfares clattered not with the tread of the thousands of heavy-booted operatives on the pavement; not a grocer's shop was brilliant with the ground-glass globes of its many lamps; not a linendraper's window was stuck over with bills telling of another Tremendous Failure or Awful Saorifioe!"
In Sinithfiold, there was neither light nor sound The glossy crockery and glittering glass no longer was strewn upon the ground, and no impatient dealer was there jingling bis cups and tumblers, and rattling his basins to bring the customers to his stand. The covered sheds, spread with bright-coloured handkerchiefs and muslin, and hung with long streamers of Lace, had all disappeared;
the long narrow alleys of old-clothes stalls, decked with washed-out gowns and brown stays, and yellow petticoats and limp bonnets, were gone; the old-boots stalls, bright with the highly-polished shoe, wan nowhere risible; nor the black hardware, nor the white wicker-baskets, nor the dangling hairy brooms, nor the glass cases glittering with showy jewellery. The booth-like cook-shops were shut up, and not a boy was to be seen within them enjoying his cheap basin of steaming soup or plate of smoking pie; and the sheets of tripe, like bundles of shammy leather, and the cow-heels, white and soddened, like washerwomen's hands, had disappeared from the stalls.
In Victoria Market the oranges were no longer to be seen piled op in pyramids, and glittering like balls of gold against their [white-papered shelves. Not a sound of music was to be heard in any of the harmonic taverns. The piano of "The Hen Aim Chickens" was bushed. The fiddle and violoncello sounded not in The Cotton Tree." At Ben Lang's tbe lights were all out, and the galleries emptynot a seriously-comic song, nor comically-serious ditty disturbed the silence of the Saloon."
The shutters of the Exchange, too, were closednone sat at the tables, or stood at the desks scanning the papers. At Milnex's, the patent iron safe that, laden with gold, had stood the attack of twenty desperate robbers, was hidden for a time by the shutters. Barton the stationer had eloped to London with his Love. Nathaniel Gould and his brother from London had both returned to the metropolis to see the Exhibition, and his mother. Binyons and Hunter had given over desiccating their coffee, and had gone to air themselves instead, in the metropolis. At Urowtbcr's Hotel, the pretty barmaid was no longer to be seen, for The Auokl'' had retired to London. At the Commercial Dining Rooms, Bell's joints had ceased to be hot from twelve till three, for he, Like the rest, had gone, legs and shoulders and all, to the Great Exlubition; while Mrs. J a. Stewart, (" professed cook,") no longer recommended those gentlemen who wanted a relish to try her chops. Mrs. Lai or, having exhausted her winter supply of fancy shirts, braces, cravats,
1861 J OR, THE ADVENTURES OP
ehief mourner of the establishment," determined to have a few weeks' pleasure, like the rest of the world; while Beddoe, of the opposition depot for grief, had," in consequence of the mildness of the season," (coupled with its general healthiness) "not only reduced all his stock of the previous winter's weeds and weepers, but finding the mortality much below the usual average, had put up the black shutters of his shop, and affixed a hatchment, with the motto of "Resuroam," over his door, as a notice that he would turn up again shortly.
Not a shop but had some announcement pasted on the shutters. In the principal thoroughfares chickens scratched at the unremoved dust, while the crowing of rival cocks sounded shrill in the silent streets. Corpulent old ducks waddled along the kerb-stones to bathe themselves in the gutter. In Market-street the grass was already beginning to sprout between the stones. The cats, left to take care of themselves, wandered about as thin as French pigs, and lay in wait for the birds, that no longer scared by the noise, now began to flock and twitter loudly in every thoroughfare. In the People's Parks, pigs roamed among the flowers, while geese and donkeys nibbled at the grass.
There was, however, one quarter of the deserted town where the people were not holiday-making, but still labouringfur what was to them, indeed, dear lifeone district where the toil knew no cessationwhere the workmen bad no money to spend on pleasure, getting barely enoughslave as they mightto keep soul and body together.
Round about the wretched purlieus of Rochdale-road the clicking of the shuttles of the handloom weavers might still be heard. Early, long before the light, and long after the dark, the weaver's dim lamp might be seen in the attic or cellar, and where some five-and-twenty were styed together under one wretched roof, Mr. Sandboys was led by Inspector Johnny Wren.
At the top of the house he found the rooms crowded with crazy old looms, so that it was scarcely possible to move betweenand here, with beds of sacks of straw, and nothing but their own rags to cover them by night, were a band of grim, hollow-cheeked, and half-starved men, toiling away for a crustand nothing more.
Mr. Sandboys started back in horror as he looked at the pinched faces and gaunt figures of the workers. He asked why they were not, like the rest of the town, at the Exhibition of the Industry of all Nations.
" Hal ha! ha!" laughed out one with a week's beard on his chin "last week I earnt three and ninepence, and this week I shall have got two and a penny. Exhibition of Industry! let them as wants to see the use of industry in this country come and see this here exhibition."
" I warrant it'll beat all nations hollow," cried another. And then the man laughed again, and so did all his fellow-workers, in a grim, empty-bellied chorus.
: Mr. Sandboys grew somewhat alarmed at the man's manner, and
MR. AND MRS. CDR8TY 8ANDB0Y8.
not finding much gratification in the contemplation of misery that he knew it was out of his power to mitigate, beckoned Inspector Wren away, and made tbe best of his road back to tbe house of his fellow-countryman.
Mrs. Sandboys bad been anxiously awaiting his return for some time. During the absence of Cursty, she had half made up her mind to return to Hassness; and would have decided upon doing so immediately had it not been for the loss of the luggage.
Mr. Sandboys, however, now that he had wholly forgotten his late troubles, was in no way desirous of giving way to what appeared to be simply a small concatenation of adverse circumstances. Besides, now that he saw matters were taking a more propitious turn, he began to feel all his heroism returning; and having made up his mind to enjoy himself for a short period in the metropolis, why he would not allow it ever to be said that he was weak enough to be wrested from his purpose by a few mishaps.
His darling Aggy, however, thought far less of the heroism than she did of her boxes; and seeing the imminent peril in which she stood of being deprived of the entire three-and-twenty packages which contained the family linen and all their best clothes, besides a sufficiency of notes to cover, as she and Cursty had calculated, all their expenses in town, why she agreed with her lord and master that, under all circumstances, it might perhaps be advisable to avail themselves of the kind offer of Mr. Johnny Wren to advance them money enough to carry them on until they could obtain their boxes from the railway station.
Mr. Sandboys, being of the same opinion, consulted privately with his friend Johnny Wren as to the amount he could conveniently spare them; and all tbe money-matters having been satisfactorily arranged, the Sandboys family started once more on their journey, determined this time, at least, to enjoy themselves.
58 1851; or, the adventures of
" Now nfty ahwort yean ha'e flown owre us,
Sin' first we fell in at tbe fair, I've monie a teyme tbowt, wi' new pleasure,
Nae weyfe cud wi' Aggy compare; Tho' thy nwose has gi'en way to the wrinkle,
At changes we munna complain; They're rich whea in age are leet hearted,
An' mourn nit for days that are geane."
The Dayt that are geane.
" We na'd to go to bed at dark,
And ruse agean at four or fire; The mworn's the only teyme for wark,
If fwok are hiltby and wou'd thrive. Now we gi( upnay, God keas when!
And nuin'a owre suin for ua to deyne; Fa hungry or the pot's half boiled,
And wish for teymes leyke sold tang seyne."
At length the Sandboys reached the Metropolis, without any further misadventure than being informed, on their arrival, that there was not a bed to be had within five miles for love or money.
On reaching the Bull and Mouth, to their great astonishment they found a large placard exhibited, inscribed with the following terrible announcement
"The beds here are quite fulu"
Mr. Sandboys, however, was not to be deterred; and, entering the establishment, he sought for some one whose face he might remember having seen on his previous visit. The head waiter no sooner entered the coffee-room in answer to his summons, than he recognised the face of the old attendant, and besought him to recommend him to some place where he might obtain a bed for a night or two at the least.
The only place that the waiter knew, as promising the remotest chance of accommodation, was at the residence of a lady who, he was informed, had been recently extending the conveniences of her establishment; and then, handing to Mr. Sandboys the lodging-housekeeper's address, he whisked his napkin under his arm, and, pulling his front hair, departed with all the elegance of a head-waiter at an old-fashioned establishment.
Arrived at the residence of the lady indicated by the gentleman who superintended the supply of provisions to the inmates of the Bull and Mouth, Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys were asked to step into the passage (the lady apologizing for the parlours being both full), and there Mrs. Fokesell, whose husband, she was happy to say, was at sea, informed them, to their great horror, that she had only one hammock left unoccupied; and if the lady and gentleman thought they could make
Look-in^ J-onr Lod& c
ME. AND MBS. COBSTY 8ANDBCY6.
shift in that until such time as they could meet with anything better, why it was at their service for five shillings a night. The young lady and the female servant Mrs. Fokesell might perhaps accommodate in her bed, and if the footman wouldn't mind lying on the knife-board, and the young gentleman thought he could pass the night comfortably on the top of the grand piano, why she would do everything in her power to make them comfortable.
Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys said that, under the circumstances, they must consent to avail themselves of whatever they could get; whereupon the landlady politely informed them, that if they would follow her down stairs, she would show them the only apartment she bad to spare.
But, as she was about to descend, a loud single knock was given at the street door, and, begging their indulgence for a minute, she returned to the passage to ascertain the business of the new-comer. On answering the knock, she found that it was merely the coal-merchant, who wished to be informed when she would like to have in them there coals as she ordered"
Mrs. Fokesell hastily told the man, that if they weren't delivered [the first thing in the morning, there wouldn't be a bit of fire to bile the docen pots of shaving-water as was wanted by eight o'clock for her lodgers."
On closing the door, and rejoining Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys, who still stood on the top of tbe kitchen stairs, Mrs. Fokesell led the way to the basement, and, opening the kitchen door, stepped across the area. Stopping in front of one of the two doors that led to what the Landlady was pleased to dignify by the name of a humble apartment on the basement floor, she unfastened the padlock, and revealed the interior of a cellar, from the arched roof of which was slung a sailor's hammock, while on the floor was spread a small square of dingy carpet. In one corner, on top of a beer-barrel, stood an apparatus that did duty for a toilet-table. Against the whitewashed wall hung a small sixpenny shaving-glass; while, immediately beneath it, there was placed a dilapidated chair.
Mrs. Sandboys, who until that moment had never set eyes on that peculiar kind of naval contrivance for obtaining a night's rest under difficulties, could not refrain from expressing her firm conviction that it was utterly impossible for any woman of her sire to deposit herself safely in the interior of that thing, which people were pleased to call abed
Mrs. Fokesell, however, begged to assure her that she had passed manymany very pleasant nights in that very hammock, and with the aid of the trestle which she had placed on the floor, and an assisting hand from her husband, she was sure the lady would be able to manage very well.
Mr. Sandboys himself was anything but pleased with the arrangements of the proposed dormitory, and, secretly in his own mind, he was inquiring of himself how, when he had lent the said assisting band to his better half, and safely lodged her within the depths of the
suspended hammock, he himself was ever to join her there, for who, he wanted to know, was there to perform the same kind office for him)
However, even if they had to take the bed down, and spread it on the carpet, it would, thought Mr. Sandboys, be far preferable to none at all, so he told Mrs. Fokesell that he and his good lady would avail themselves of the accommodation, at least for that one night.
"It's all I have, ma'am," said the landlady; I have just let the last tent on the tiles to a foreign nobleman, and seven shillings a night is what I has from him. I assure you it's a fact, ma'am. There is not a foot in a respectable house that is not worth its length in sovereigns, ma'am. Why, if you'll believe me, ma'am, there's my next-door neighbour, she's put a feather bed into her warm bath, and let it off to a young East Injun at a guinea a week, for a month certain.
Mr. Sandboys, exhausted with his journey, made no more ado, but closed the bargain with Mrs. Fokesell; and, having partaken of some fried chops, by way of supper, in the kitchen, he and his beloved Aggy withdrew to the privacy of the cellar which was to constitute their bed-chamber for the night.
After a brief consultation, it was agreed that, to prevent all chance of taking cold in so damp a dormitory, they should retire to rest in their clothes; and Mrs. Sandboys having disengaged herself of her hood and cloak, prepared to make the perilous ascent.
By the aid of her Cursty's hand she mounted the little trestle of the beer-barrel, which she previously placed immediately under the hammock, and then, turning her back towards the suspended bed she managed, with a slight jump, to seat herself on the extreme edge of the sacking. Her figure, however, being rather corpulent, the weight of her whole body no sooner rested on one side of the oscillating couch, than the whole apparatus slid from under her, and she was suddenly plunged down on to the corner of the temporary toilet-table. Fortunately for the good lady, the top of the artificial wash-handstand consisted of a board merely laid across the head of a barrel; so that immediately she touched the ricketty arrangement, the board, basin, and pitcher were all tilted forward, and the entire contents of tbe water-jug emptied full into her face, as she fell to the ground.
What with the crash of the crockery, the splashing of the water, and the bumping of poor dear Mrs. Sandboys on tbe carpet, Cursty was almost paralysed with fright. He was afraid even to raise his darling Aggy from the ground, for he felt that something serious must have happened to her.
But Mrs. Sandboys luckily was sound in her bones, though severely bruised in her flesh; and as Cursty helped her up from the floor, she shook the water from her hair, and vowed that she would rather sleep on the carpet all night than make another attempt to enter that nasty, deceitful, swinging, unsteady thing of a bed.
Mr. Sandboys used all the endearing arts of which he was master to induce the partner of his bosom to make a second attempt,
but his entreaties were in vain; for Mrs. Sandboys, whose body still tingled with the failure of her previous essay, was in no way
inclined to listen to his solicitations.
But the persevering Cursty pleaded so hard that at last he got her to consent, that provided he would first get into the hammock himself, and would lift her into it after him, she wouldn't mind obliging him in that wayfor she could see no other plan by which she was ever to be safely deposited within it.
Accordingly, Mr. Sandboys, when, after a few unsuccessful but harmless endeavours, he had managed to get his entire body fairly into the sailor's bed, leant over the side in order to assist his better-half to join him within it. But on his putting out his arms to lift the lady up to the required height, the delusive, bendable bedstead turned inside out, and shot him, mattrass, blankets, and counterpane, together with his Aggy, plump on to the ground.
The fall shook Mr. Sandboys almost as much as when the pig had laid on his back in the brook, and it was long before he could bring himself even to propose to his wife to make another attempt to enter the wretched wabbling, swingy substitute for the substantial security of a four-post.
At length Mrs. Sandboys, who two or three times had just saved herself from falling almost flat on her nose while dozing in the dilapidated chair, began to be fairly tired out; and Cursty, who had sat on the top of the beer-barrel till his legs were nearly cut through with the sharp edge of the hoop, found that it was impossible to continue his slumbers in so inconvenient a posture, so he took his fat and dozing little wife in his arms, and standing once more on the trestle, fairly lifted her into the hammock; after which, seizing the chain that hung from the iron plate in the pavement above, he with one desperate bound swung himself by her side into the hammock.
In a few minutes they were both fast locked in slumber; but Cursty's repose was destined to be of short duration; for soon Mrs. Sandboys, shaking him violently, roused him from his rest.
" Up wi'thee! up wi'thee! thar be summet beastes a-crawling ower my face, Cursty. Ah, these Lon'on beds! We'll be beath yeeten up, aleyve, if thee staps here, Cursty!"
And so saying, she gave her lord and master so stout a thrust in his back, that drove his weight to the edge of the hammock, and again brought him rapidly to the floor.
Mrs. Sandboys in her fright soon followed her husband; and then nothing would satisfy her but she must have the whole of the bedding and clothes turned out on the ground, and minutely examined by the light of the rushlight.
But Mr. Sandboys, already deprived of the half of his night's rest, was in no way fit for the performance desired by his wife; and, in order to satisfy her qualms, he proposed that the mattrass alone should be replaced in the hammock, and tJien she need have no fear.
Mrs. Sandboys was herself in no humour to hold out against so apparently rational a proposal; and, having consented to the compro-
1861 ; OR, THE ADVBNTUBBS OF
raise, there began the same aeries of arduous and almost perilous struggles to ensconce their two selves onee more in the interior of the hammock.
After several heavy tumbles on both sides, and breaking the rusty iron chain which served to hold down the circular trap in the pave-merit above, the worthy couple did ultimately manage to succeed again in their courageous undertaking; and then, fairly exhausted
with their labours, they closed their eyes just as the blue light of day was showing through the cracks of the coal-cellar door.
The Cumberland couple had continued their rest undisturbed some few hours, when Mrs. Sandboys was aroused by hearing the circular iron trap moved above her head. She woke her husband with a violent shake, telling him, as soon as she could make him understand, that she was sure some of her friends, the London thieves, were preparing to make a descent through the pavement into their subterranean bed-chamber.
Mr. Sandboys was no sooner got to comprehend the cause of her alarm, than he saw the end of the chain lifted up, and the trap removed from the pavement above them.
Instinctively the couple rose up in their bed, and leant their heads forward to ascertain the precise nature of the impending danger. Suddenly they were startled by a gruff voice from above, shouting Bee-elow,n and immediately there descended through the round hole at the top of the cellar a shower of large and small coals, the noise of which completely drowned their cries, and beneath which they were almost buried alive.
Before they could extricate themselves from the black mass, that nearly filled their hammock, a second shower of Walls' End was poured down upon them; and had it not been for the landlady observing from the kitchen that the coal-porter was about to shoot the half ton she had ordered on the previous evening to be delivered early that morning into Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys' hammock, that worthy couple assuredly must have perished in the dusty, grimy avalanche.
Mrs. Fokesell rushed into the area, cried out loudly to the man to hold back the third sack, which he had just .poised over the hole on his shoulder, previous to discharging its contents on the bodies of the unhappy Sandboys, and tearing open the door, delivered the blackened and the bruised couple from the perils of their wretched situation.
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" Bat if we wnllent be content Wi' th' blessiugs sec as heav'n hu tent,
But obstinately wad prevent
Wise fate's decree, Sec fwoak muu just pursue tbe bent
I' tbeir own bree.
" What if the hand of fate, unkind, Has ua'd fremtly, need we peyne ? Tbo' you've lost your sight an' me meyne,
We cannot mend iC Let us be glad the powers deveyne
Nae war* extendiC
" Let ussen leyfe is but a span Still be as canty as we can, Rememb'ring Heaven has ordered Man
To practise patience, An' not to murmur 'neath hia nan',
Leyke reckless gations."
Now, it so happened, that in the house where the Sandboys had taken up their residence, there was located on the second floor one of those malades imaginaires, in a white robe-de-chambre, who are so popular and pretty at the present day.
Mrs. Blanche Quinine certainly dressed the part of the invalid to the lifeor, rather, to the death. Robed from head to foot in the purest white, she managed to look extremely well and ill at one and the same time. She was got up with tbe greatest possible regard to medical effect; for, although Mrs. Quinine was naturally a plump and strong-built woman, she was costumed so artistically, and looked, as she languished on the couch, so perilously delicate, that one could not help fancying but that, with the least shock or jar to her nerves, every bone in her body would fall asunder, like the skeleton in the Fantoccini, at the sudden bomb" of the drum.
Her complexionwhich could not have been called florid even at her healthiest momentswas rendered still more pale by the bloom" of "babies'" powder, with which she never failed to indue it, previous to leaving her chamber. Her eyesthey were of the Irish grey kind she always kept half-closed, as if from long want of restbut then Nature bad blessed Mrs. Quinine with long, dark, sweeping eye-Lashes, and these were never seen to such perfection as when brought into contrast with her white skin. Her upper lip was drawn up slightly, as if in continual painbut then Mrs. Quinine was gifted with a remarkably fine set of teeth," and was sufficient woman of the world" to know that there was no use in her having such things unless she showed them. Moreover, the favourite, because the most touching, posture, of Mrs. Quinine, was with her head slightly drooping,
and her cheek resting on her handbut then the lady prided herself on the smallne8s of her extremities (the tips of toes could be just seen at the end of the couch, peeping from beneath her robe); and, with her arms raised, she knew that the blood could not circulate so freely in her fingers, and, consequently, that she would be saved the trouble of continually rubbing them, in order to improve their whiteness.
And, truth to say, the illness of Mrs. Quinine was as agreeable to herself as it was interesting to her doctor and acquaintances, and inconvenient to her husband. Mrs. Blanche's prevailing belief was, that she was suffering from extreme debility, and that if she bad not the very best of food to live upon, accompanied with continual change of air and scene, she felt satisfied she bad but a short time to remain in this world.
In this conviction Mrs. Quinine was fully borne out by the profound opinion, most gravely delivered, with the lady's pulse in one hand, and his gold repeater in the other, by her medical adviser that "dear, loveable old man," Doctor Twaddleswho added, that unless she would keep herself quiet, and refrain from making the least exertion, and could at the same time be secured perfect peace of mind at home, without being thwarted in the slightest wishas he said this, the doctor knitted the grey, bushy brows which hung down about his eyes like a Skye terrier's, and looked death-warrants at the husband of the ladyhe would not take it upon himself to answer for the consequences.
Now, Doctor Twaddles was a gentleman who had fortunately been blest with a remarkably imposing appearance.
Nature had been most bountiful to the Doctor. He had an intensely fine bald head of his own"round and hairless as an ostrich's egg; and this attractive exterior had been worth a thousandfold more to him than the interior ever could have been, even had it been as full of brains as every egg is said to be full of meat. Had the Doctor depended for his advancement in life on his skill, he might have remained without a patient and without a crust; but, so to speak, standing on his bald head, he had been able to drink his wine daily, although he certainly was no conjuror."
The head, to which Doctor Twaddles owed so much, and which had won for him such a number of hatbands from departed patients, was fringed with silver, for the little hair that still lingered round it was white as driven snow. His features were prominent and statuesque. His coat, which was always scrupulously clean and dust-less, was black and glossy as that of a mourning-coach horse; and he so far olung to tbe manners of the old school, as to allow his nether garments to descend only to his knees, where they were fastened by a pair of small gold buckles. His legs, which to do Doctor Twaddles justicewere exceedingly well shaped, and perhaps accounted for the Doctor's still clinging to the obsolete fashion of exhibiting them, were veiled by a pair of very thin gossamer-like black-silk stockings, through which the flesh showed with a pinky hue; so that
the medical gentleman's calves, as he sat with them crossed one over the other, so as to give the foremost an extra plumpness, bore a strong resemblance in colour to black currant jam.
The only ornaments that the Doctor wore, were a diamond pin set transparent," and so pellucid as to be scarcely visible on the white neckcloth that it fastened; and a series of mourning rings on his third and little fingers, as ostentatious marks of respect from some of the most illustrious and wealthy patients he had buried; while from below his waistcoat there dangled a bunch of gold seals, almost as big as tbe tassel at the end of a bell-rope, and these the Doctor delighted, as he leant back in his chair, to swing up and down, like a muffin-bell, while delivering his opinion.
Doctor Twaddles was wont to increase the importance of his opinion by multiplying himself into many, and substituting, in his discourse, for tbe plain, humble, and honest I, the pompous, imposing and presumptuous We,the special prerogative of monarchs and editors. Certainly this style of discourse was fraught with some few attendant advantages, even beyond that of leading the hearer to believe that the verdict pronounced was not the judgment of one solitary individual, but the unanimous opinion of an indefinite number; for when the Doctor, after due feeling of pulse and knitting of brows, said to bis patients that we must take a blue pill and black dose, it appeared to the invalid as if the generous Physician intended to swallow half his own medicine.
But, on the other hand, some of the Doctor's plural edicts had a particularly singular sound with them; for when he told his lady-patients that we must put our feet in hot water, it seemed as if be intended indulging in a joint foot-bath with them. Equally strange and startling did it sound when he said, that we really must go out of town;" or, stranger still, when in a mysterious manner he declared, that we really must go to bed as quick as possible."
Dr. Twaddles was a great favourite with the ladies, by whom he was invariably described as a loveable old man." His manner was gentle and polite as a well-fee'd pew-opener. His voice he always Mil1 in-il to a complimentary sympathy, and he was especially tender in his handling of his fair patients' pulses. He was, moreover, remarkably fond of children," for whom he generally carried in his pockets a small canister filled either with acidulated drops, refined liquorice," or black currant lozenges." In his habits, too, he was quite a family man, and never failed, if in his visits he found the more healthy members of the family at a hot lunch," of seating himself good-humouredfy at the table, and declaring that he mutt really have a bit of tbe pudding, for he was happy to say that he was still quite a boy in his love of sweets."
Nor was the advice" usually given by Dr. Twaddles of a less attractive character.
The Doctor invariably acted upon the apparently disinterested plan of objecting to the use of physicexcepting of course in the most urgent cases. Formerly, according to the old fable, curriers were
prone to insist there was nothing like leather, but of late the contrary, and far more lucrative, practice has sprung up among us; and now-a-days lawyers counsel their clients on no account to go to law,"with the greatest possible success; and physicians rail at the exhibition of physicto equal advantage.
With Doctor Twaddles, diet was everything"all maladies proceeding, according to his popular pathology, from the stomach; for patients, he had long ago discovered, never objected to being fed into good health, however strong an aversion they might have to being dosed into convalescence.
Another mode of insinuation that the Doctor adopted was to explain to the invalids, in language that they could not possibly understand, the cause of the malady for which he was prescribing, and the reason for the remedies he adopted: this he did in short family physiological lectures, which he loved to illustrate by the most ordinary objects. He would tell the astonished and half-affrighted patients how the greater part of the food taken into the system acted simply as coals to the vital fire,how the lungs were, if he might be allowed the expression, nothing more than the grate in which the alimentary fuel was being consumed, and keeping up a continued supply of caloric for the human frame, for, that the selfsame operation was going on in the human chest as in the stove beside him.
As he said this, the bald-headed Doctor would lean back with evident self-satisfaction in the easy chair, and swing his watch-seals round and round Like a watchman's rattle. Then he usually proceeded to explain how every human creature was burning away, in the process of respiration, at the least one pound of charcoal per diem; that every meal was, when viewed with the philosophic eye, nothing more than throwing another shovelful or two of coals on to the ever-consuming fire; and that for himself, he did not care in what form the charcoal was introduced into the system, but one pound of it he must really insist upon being swallowed daily.
Mrs. Quininewho, by-the-bye, never lost an opportunity of impressing upon strangers that her name was pronounced Kenecn, even as the Beauvoira, the Cholmondeleys, the Majoribanks, and the Cock-burns, insist upon being called Beavers, Chumleys, Marchbanks, and CoburnsMrs. Quinine, we repeat, agreed with the rest of the female world in her estimation of the dear old Doctor Twaddles. Nor was it to be wondered at, for the Doctor certainly did his best to make the lady's indisposition as pleasant and profitable as possible to her.
True to his dietetic discipline, the loveable old Physician gave the lady to understand that all she required was nourishing food, and accordingly his prescriptions consisted of a succession of the most agreeable and toothsome delicacies; so that the fair invalid having merely to submit to a course of high feeding, gave herself up to tbe care of the dear Doctor with the most exemplary patience.
At six in the morning, Mrs. Quinine began her dietetic course with a cup of homoeopathic cocoa, that was kept simmering through the night
in a small teapot, resting (heaven knows why!) on the turrets of a china castle, in the porcelain donjon ot which burnt a melancholy spirit lamp. This it was her husband's duty to give the lady immediately her eyes were opened. Her breakfast, which was mostly taken in bed, consisted of coffee, procured, according to tbe express injunctions of the Doctor, from a house where analysis bad proved it to be unadulterated, and made, after Doctor Twaddles' own receipt, entirely with milk, obtained from an establishment where the Doctor could vouch for its being genuine. The coffee was sometimes accompanied with the lean of a mutton-chop, "cut thick," and "done with the gravy in it;" sometimes with a rasher or two of Dr. Gardner's digestive bacon," and sometimes with the wing of a cold chicken; while the bread of which she partook was of the unfermented kind, had fresh every day from the Doctor's own man in the City. At twelve the invalid rose, and descended to a light lunch of either oysters, a small costard pudding, or some calfs-foot jelly made palateable and strengthening with wine; and with this, and an egg or two beaten up with milk, and flavoured with a glass of Madeira, the delicate lady was enabled to linger on till the more substantial meal of the day.
Mrs. Quinine's dinner, for the most part, was made up of a little bit" of fish and a "mouthful or two" of game; for the lady condescended but seldom to partake of butcher's meat, and, when she did so, it was solely of the more delicate and expensive kinds, known as Southdown or Welsh mutton; while the digestion of these was assisted either with "Rumford ale," or "India pale," or "Guinness'," or some other agreeable and stimulating form of dietetic medicine, procured from establishments which were noted for supplying only the very best articles.
Her supper was usually eaten in bed, for the invalid was strictly enjoined to retire to rest at an early hour; and long before she did so, a fire was lighted in her bed-room, so that she might not suffer from the shock of going into a cold apartment: for the same reason, tbe lady's bed was well warmed previous to her entering it; and when she had been comfortably tucked up by her maid, a hot water bottle swathed in flannel was placed at her feet Here the invalid was consoled either with a glass of warm white-wine-whey, or a posset, or arrowroot bought expressly for her at Apothecaries' Hall; and thus the poor delicate lady was enabled to keep body and soul together until the morrow.
But the course of diet followed by the lady was far from settled, for Doctor Twaddles paid great attention to what he termed the voice of Nature," and consequently gave strict orders that whatever his patient fancied she was to have. Accordingly, Mrs. Quinine continually felt convinced that her system required change, and that she needed some most expensive and agreeable article of diet Now her mouth was parched, and nothing but strawberries, though they cost a guinea a pint, or a bunch or two of hot-house grapes, could relieve her; then she would give the world for just a taste of spring lamb and
new potatoes; and then nothing would satisfy her but a mouthful or two of 111 rl a >t. even though it were impossible to buy less than a whole one.
All these little fancies Doctor Twaddles dignified by the name of "instincts," and declared that they were simply the out-speakings of exhausted Nature.
Mrs. Quinine was, of course, too weak to walk abroad, so Doctor Twaddles enjoined a daily airing in the park, when the weather was mild, in an open carriage; or, if the lady preferred it, he would advise a little horse exercise; and as Mrs. Quinine thought she looked extremely well in a habit and "wide-awake," she seldom stirred out unless mounted on a palfrey" from the neighbouring livery stables.
Now these and other similar prescriptions of Doctor Twaddles made illness so pleasant, that, coupled with the interesting character of the invalid costume (Mrs. Quinine wore the prettiest of nightcaps, trimmed with the most expensive of lace, when she received visitors in her bedroom), the lady naturally felt disposed to feel indisposed. And it was odd how the several complaints to which she professed herself subject, came and went with the fashionable seasons. In winter she was peculiarly susceptible" to bronchitis, so that this necessitated her being in town at the gayest period of the metropolis. Doctor Twaddles would not take upon himself to answer for the consequences if Mrs. Quinine passed a winter in the provinces: andwhat was a severe calamitythe poor lady could go nowhere in the summer for change of air, but to the fashionable and lively watering-places, for she was always affected with the hay fever if she visited the more retired and consequently duller parts of the country.
The prevailing afflictions of Mrs. Quinine, however, were neuralgia, and "a general debility of the system"indeed, she was always suffering from her "poor poor nerves;" and though subject to the greatest depression of spirits in the presence of her husband, (for that gentleman seldom remonstrated with her, but she burst into a flood of tears, and declared he was "throwing her back,") still, before company, she was always lively enough, excepting when the visitors made tender inquiries after her health, and then no one certainly could be more severely afflicted.
Nor was the debility" under which the lady laboured less eccentric in its nature, for though it prevented her taking any exercise in the open airbut in a carriage or on horsebackstill, when an invitation came to a dance, it in no way interfered with her polking in an extremely low" dress half the night through.
Mr. Quinine was an eminent painter of still-life;" and though his braces of partridges on canvas, and his dead hares, and his grapes and pine-apples in oil" were highly admired, and fetched large sums, it was nevertheless as much as he could do to pay the physician's fees by his game and fruit pieces. While his wife was breakfasting or su(mitig off her dainties in bed, or doing" the elegant and interesting invalid in white cambric on the sofa in the front room, or riding out
in tIk' Park, he, (poor man !) was painting away for dear life in his studio at the back of the house. This the clever little artist (for he stood but five foot five in his high-heeled Wellingtons) did without a mnrmur; for, truth to say, he doated on his dear Blanche, and strove, by making studies" of the birds" prescribed by Doctor Twaddles before they were cooked far his wife's dinner, somehow or other to lessen the expenses of "the housekeeping;" for not one of the Doctor's delectable dietetic prescriptions was ever sent to Co vent Garden or Leadenhall Market to be "dispensed," bat the economic Quinine was sure to use it as a model before administering it to the patient.
But even if the little man had felt inclined to raise his voice against the course pursued, he would immediately have had the united battery of Twaddles and Blanche opened against him; and while the lady overpowered him with tears, the Doctor would have impressed upon him, in the most solemn manner, that unless Mrs. Quinine could be allowed to enjoy the greatest tranquillity of both mind and body, and be assured the gratification of her slighest wish, it was beyond the highest talent in the kingdom to undertake to say what distressing event might happen.
The opening of the Great Exhibition had operated almost as magically upon the nerves of the susceptible Mrs. Quinine, as an invitation to a The Dantamte, Her bronchitis, and the short hacking cough" which accompanied it, had almost disappeared under the influence of the delicious pate de Ouimauve, prescribed by Doctor Twaddles; the lady's neuralgia had been dissipated by her steel medicine (and she had swallowed enough of that metal in her time to have admitted of being cot up into magnum bonum" pens for the million); the weak state of her nerves" no longer required tbe carriageway in front of her house to be strewn with straw, nor the iron-hand of the street-door knocker to be embellished with a white kid glove; for the lady had grown suddenly so much better," that on requesting permission of Doctor Twaddles to visit the Exhibition, she declared that she felt herself quite equal to the task of exploring even its five miles of galleries."
Doctor Twaddles did not hesitate to confess himself delighted at the favourable change that had so evidently sat in, saying it was due solely to the wonderful constitution of Mrs. Quinine; bat, like a prudent man, he wished to see how matters went on" for a abort time, before he became a consenting party to her walking outat thousand little things as he said might happen to throw her back again.
The consequence was that the lady made up her mind to take the Doctor by surprise at bis next visit, and not only to be ready in the sitting-room to receive him when he called, but to be able to say that she had breakfasted down stairs, and felt herself in no way fatigued with the exertion.
Accordingly, Mrs. Quinine, for the first time since the coronation of
1% 1851 ; OB, THE ADVENTUBE8 OF
Her Majesty Queen Victoriawhen she had been obliged to be down in Parliament-street by six in the morninghad risen at daybreak. She had dressed herself with great care, so that she might be able to make the most favourable impression upon Twaddles. She had put on a clean white cambric robe-de-chambre, and left off applying the baby's powder to her complexion; she had, moreover, such a delicate tinge of pink upon her cheeks, that it was difficult to say how the colour had got there in so short a space of time. Yesterday, she was as pale as if she had been white-washedto-day, her cheeks were as pinky as the inner lining of a shell. Whether the change arose from the contrast of her white dress, or from the absence of the wonted violet powder," or whether from the faintest touch of the hare's-foot that her prying maid had once discovered secreted in the lower tray of her dressing-case, must for ever remain one of those mysteries of the toilet that it is base presumption in Man to seek to unravel. Suffice it, Mrs. Quinine, even in her severest illness, never looked better; and as she left her bed-room, and gave a parting glance at herself in the long cheval-glass, she smiled with inward satisfaction at the appearance she made on her sudden restoration to health.
Now as the lady was slowly descending the stairs on her way to the breakfast room, Mr. Christopher Sandboys was rapidly mounting to an upper apartment, whither he had been directed by Mrs. Fokesell as the only convenient place where he could cleanse his face, bands, and clothes, from the dust of the half-ton" of coals, in which he and the partner of his bosom had been almost smothered.
The more particular" Mrs. Sandboys had retired to the nearest "baths and washhouses," convinced that nothing but a warm-bath could ever restore her to her pristine purity.
The less fastidious Cursty, however, as we said before, was hastening up the stairs, two at a time, with a jug of warm water in his hand, intent upon a good wash and effecting that physical impossibity of scrubbing the blackamoor white; for, so intensely sable with adhering coal-dust was the complexion of Mr. Sandboys, that, truth to say, the most experienced ethnologist would, at the first glance, have mistaken that gentleman for one of the Ethiopian tribe. The lady in white had descended the first flight of stairs, and was just preparing to turn the corner of the second, when the black gentleman darted sharply round, and bounced suddenly upon her.
The nervous Mrs. Quinine was in no way prepared for the sight of a *< man of colour" in such a place or at such a time. Had even her own husband pounced so unexpectedly upon her, the shock would have been sufficient to have driven all the breath out of the body of so susceptible a lady; but to find herself, without the least preparation, face to face with a black"as Mr. Cursty Sandboys appeared to hewas more than the shattered state of her nerves was able to bear.
The lady no sooner set eyes upon the sable monster than she screamed like a railway engine on coming to some dark tunnel, and fainted off dead into the arms of the astonished and terrified Sand-
boys; and as the lifeless body of the invalid fell heavily against the wretched Cursty, the dusty, grimy, coaly garments of that gentleman left their deep black mark not only upon the white cambric robe but imprinted a large black patch upon tbe cheek of the poor unconscious Mrs. Quinine.
The industrious little artist who called that lady his wife was busy in his studio, transferring a brace of wild ducks to canvas, previous to their being cooked for his wife's dinner, when he heard the piercing scream of his dear Blanche. With his palette still upon his thumb, and his wet paint-brush in his hand, he darted forth, and discovered his lady insensible, in the arms of a man who, at first sight, struck him as being nothing more refined than a London coal-heaver.
Guarding his face with his palette, like a shield, the little artist rushed at the amazed Sandboys, and began attacking him with his paint-brush, as with a broadsword, while every stroke he made at the wretched Cursty's head, left a dab of paint upon his cheeks; so that by the time the indignant Quinine had broken the brush in his repeated blows, the complexion of Mr. Sandboys was as dark and many-coloured as that of a highly tattooed Indian chief.
In such a situation it was impossible for Cursty to defend himself; to have done as much he must have let the Btrange lady in white drop to the ground. His gallantry bore the vigorous attack of the enraged husband for some few minutes, but when the little painter had discarded the impotent weapons of his art, and Sandboys saw him about to belabour him with his fists, his Cumbrian blood could put up with it no longer. Cursty impulsively withdrew his arm from the lady's waist, to throw himself into an attitude of self-defence; and, as he did so, the figure of the unconscious Mrs. Quinine fell heavily on the floor.
The fall had the effect of bringing the lady to her senses, when she immediately clung to the legs of the little artist so firmly as to prevent his continuing the attack. Then, as that gentleman stooped to raise his wife from the floor, and Sandboys advanced to explain and apologize for, the misadventure, the lady no sooner set eyes on the black face that had before deprived her of her senses, than she fell into a violent fit of hysterics, and made the whole house ring with her laughter.
The noise brought the hundred-and-one lodgers from their apartments to the stairs, and, from the top to the bottom, at every landing-place, was a bunch of heads "of all nations,"bearded, whiskered, and moustachio'd,some in turbans, others in Greek caps, fez-caps, and nightcapsall enjoying the scene, and mightily taken with the piebald state of Mrs. Quinine's face and robe de chambre, and the party-coloured character of Mr. Sandboy's complexion.
Nor was Mrs. Sandboys less fortunate in her endeavours to free herself from the black of the coals. Having removed the superficial grubbiness from her skin by a hasty rinse of her face and hands at
the sink in the back kitchenthe only available placebut which merely had the effect of diluting her complexion down to the swarthi-ness of a neutral tint, she "jumped" into a cab, and, as we said before, made the best of her way to the nearest public baths.
Here she was delayed some considerable time in procuring her ticket, owing to the rush" of Frenchmen, Germans, Russians, and Poles, congregated round the building, for tbe London lodging-bouse keepers had come to a resolution not to receive any foreigners into their establishments unless they came prepared with a certificate from some of the metropolitan washhouses. Her ticket, once obtained, however, Mrs. Sandboys proceeded to make her way down the long narrow passage, between the two rows of little bath rooms, on the ladies' side" of the establishment. At the end of the corridor she was met by the female attendant, who, in answer to her request for a bath, informed her that all the "warms" were full, but that she expected there'd be "a shower" shortly.
Now, the innocent Mrs. Sandboys, having never heard of such a style of bathing as the last mentioned, was naturally led to believe that the attendant alluded to nothing less than the unsettled state of the weather; so casting her eyes up to the skylight, she observed in reply, that she dare say they would have a shower before long, adding, that it was just what country people wanted
" Perhaps, then, you wouldn't object to that there, mum J" returned attendant, as she arranged the pile of towels in the cupboard
" Why a, as Ise here, I dunnet mind, if 'twill be ow'r sum," replied the simple-minded Mrs. Sandboys, still referring to the rain. I dare say 'full dui a power of guid to cwuntry fwoke."
" Oh, yes, mum 1 always does a vast deal of good, and is sure to be over in no time," returned the bath-woman, still harping on her baths.
In a few minutes the shower-bath was at liberty, and Mrs. Sandboys seated herself in a chair in the passage, while the attendant went to prepare the room for her use.
Presently the woman returned with the heavy-looking wet towels of the departed bather in her hand, hanging down like paunches; letting them "flop" on the floor, she requested Mrs. Sandboys to follow her, as the room was quite ready. Mrs. Sandboys did as desired, and was shown into a small apartment, into which she was no sooner ushered than the attendant withdrew, saying, that if the lady wanted anything there was a bell and she would please to ring.
The room was a small cabin-like apartment, with a narrow little bench against one side of it, while above this a few wooden hooks projected from the wall. A tiny shaving-glass" hung against the partition, and the uncarpeted floor was dark-coloured with the drippings of the previous bathers. In one corner was what appeared at first sight to be a long upright cupboard, but which in reality was "the second-class" shower-bath. The door of this apparatus was placed wide open, and inside there stood a chair, while a small cord dangled from above.
Mrs. Sandboys observing nothing that appeared to her primitive mind to bear the slightest resemblance to a bath in the room, conjectured that the hot water would be brought to her in a large pan immediately it was ready.
Accordingly, she set to work to divest herself of her bonnet and cloak; and having arranged those articles on the bench, she pro-< vci 11 -i I. in her simplicity, to seat herself in the chair immediately under the shower-bath, in the corner of the little apartment, there to await the coming of the expected pan.
Her patience endured the imaginary delay for some few minutes, but at length growing wearied of her solitary situation, she got angry at the non-appearance of the attendant, and starting from her seat, seised the cord which dangled above her head, and which shepoor innocent dame!mistook for the bell-pull.
Determined to put up with the neglect no longer, she gave a vigorous pull at the rope. Thump went the catch, and instantly down, through the colander above, came a miniature deluge, consisting of two pailsful of cold pump," suddenly let loose, in the form of a thousand watery wires, upon the head of the luckless Mrs. Sandboys.
What with the unexpectedness of the catastrophe, and the coldness of the waterrendered still more cold by the minuteness of its division and the rapidity of its descent through the air, together with the perfectly novel character of the bath to the unsophisticated native of Buttermere, the poor lady was so perfectly paralysed by tbe icy torrent, that she was unable to escape from it; and it was not until a few moments after the cataract had ceased that she rushed out of the balneatory cupboard, gasping for breath, and fighting the air; while her clothes, shining with the wet, like a tarpaulin clung about her as tight as if she had been done up in brown paper, and her hair hung in skeins over her face, so that she had very ranch of the soaked appearance of a Polish hen on a rainy day.
As soon as she could fetch sufficient breath to scream, she gave a series of shrieks, and capered about the apartment after the manner of the war-dance of the wild Indians.
The peal of screams were echoed and re-echoed as they rattled against the bare walls of the building, and spread an instant alarm among the entire corps of ladies then in the bathing-rooms. One and all they imagined, from the piercing tone of the shrieks, that nothing less could have occurred than that some brute of a man some impudent Frenchmen, or a wretch of a Turk perhapsthrough accident or designhad found his way to the ladies' side of the establishment, and taken some poor dear by surprise. Accordingly they, one after another, repeated the screams of the original screamer shouting, It's a man! It's a man! It's a man!"
In an instant the female attendant came rushing down the corridor. Such of the lady bathers as were dressed suddenly opened the doors of their little apartments, and stood with them ajar, so that they might slam them to again in case of danger; while those who were unable to make their appearance, jumped upon the bench within, and
popped their bald-looking heads, encased as they were in yellow greasy-looking bathing-caps, over the doors, and squinted into the passage like so many birds from the house-tops; and as they saw the male authorities come hurrying towards the point of alarm, they each uttered a sudden Ho!" and bobbed down again into the privacy of their cabins, as jauntily as so many Jacks-in-the-box."
The female attendant endeavoured to explain to the infuriated Mrs. Sandboys that it was all a mistake;" but that lady felt convinced that the whole affair was nothing more nor less than a preconcerted trick, and that a cistern full of water, at the very least, had been emptied upon her, through a trap-door in the ceiling, by some wicked wretch secreted over head; and that this had been done simply because the people saw she waslike the railway milkfresh from the country.
In vain did the authoritieswho with difficulty were able to sustain that solemnity of countenance which is so necessary a part of the duties of all public functionariesbeg to assure the lady that the apparatus in question was really a form of batha showerbelonging to the establishment, much approved of, and highly recommended by the faculty.
But Mrs. Cursty was fully satisfied that no person in his senses would dream of coming to such a place to enjoy a shower, when, if they were that way inclined, they might, on any wet day, have one for nothing. Moreover, she begged to be informed, with an air of triumph,just to let the Londoners see that she was not quite so simple as they seemed to fancy her," if showers were so highly recommended by the faculty, what people carried umbrellas fort" and as she made the overpowering inquiry, she, in the ardour of the discussion, gave so self-satisfied a shake of her head, that she sprinkled the water from her hair all over the by-standers, like a Newfoundland dog just emerged from a river.
It was impossible even for the grave functionaries to keep serious any longer, but their smiles served only to make the assurance of Mrs. Sandboys doubly sure" that a wicked trick had been played upon her ; so, putting on her bonnet and cloakwet as she was she left the establishment, vowing that she would have them all up before a magistrate, and well punished for their shameful conduct towards a poor lone countrywoman like herself.
A cab soon conveyed the wretched, and shivering, and moist Mrs. Sandboys back to her lodgings. There she and her dear Cursty once more endeavoured to console one anotherbut consolation was bootless in the state of tbe Sandboys' wardrobe.
Accordingly, while Aggy borrowed a change" of the landlady, and proceeded to squeeze her corpulent figure into the thin Mrs. Fokesell's things," Jobby was dispatched to the railway station to see after the three-and-twenty boxes that constituted the family luggage, with full instructions (given at Mrs. Fokesell's advice)provided no tidings of the missing packages could be obtained at the goods department"
MB. AND MRS. CDRSTY 8ANDBOY8. 77
to scour the whole country round, by means of the electric telegraph, in search of them.
To prevent accidents, however, Elcy was made to write down all that was wanted, together with an accurate description of all that was missing: and, as she did so, the tender-hearted girl did not fail to include a graphic account of her dear pet Psyche, whom, she felt convinced, must be reduced to a positive "bag of bones"a canine living skeleton"by this time.
The youth, as directed, took the Hungerford omnibus, and made his way, without much difficulty, to the railway station. There, he could hear nothing as to the whereabouts of the family boxes; accordingly he proceeded to the Telegraph Office, and having handed in the written instructions, he set out on his return home.
As he passed under the archway of the station, it so happened that a school of Acrobats" were exhibiting their feats within the open space in front of the two large railway hotels. Jobby, with his mouth wide agape, stood outside the gates watching the posturers pile themselves, three men and a boy, high on one another's shoulders.
The exhibition was as new as it was exciting to the lad. With a thrill of pleasurable amazement the youth saw for the first time in his life the pole balancer" in his suit of spangled cotton fleshings," and the tawdry black velvet fillet round his well-oiled hair, lie on his back on a small handkerchief of carpet, and balance and catch and twirl the heavy pole on the soles of his feet. Then, almost breathless with ecstasy, he beheld the bending tumbler" slowly bend his body back till his head reached the ground, and proceed to pick up pins with his eyelids. Next, he witnessed the equilibrist" balance, spinning plates high in the air, and burning paper-bags upon bis chin, and catch huge cannon balls from a height in a cup upon his headand as all this went on, and he heard the sound of the music, and looked at the glittering costumes of the performers, Jobby was entranced with positive rapture. He had never seen, never heard, never dreamt of anything half so beautiful.
Nor could he scarcely credit that they were human like himself, till he saw the men put their shabby black coats over their spangles, and as one shouldered the pole, and the other carried the box, stroll off in close conversation with the drum and pipes," and a troop of pina-fored boys at their heels, to some fresh quarter of the town.
Jobby stood for a moment looking after the crowd, longing, but fearing, to follow them. The temptation, however, of once more beholding their marvellous feats was too much for himso, as he saw them turn the corner, he took to his heels, and hurried after the troop.
There for the present we must leave him.
" Tbe lasses o' Carel are weel-sbap'd an' bonny, But lie that wad win yeu mun brag of bis gear, You niiiy follow and follow till heart siek and weary To get them needs siller and fine claes to wear.
" They'll catch at a reed cwoat leyke as monie mack'rel. And jump at a fop, or even lissen a fuil, Just brag of an uncle that's got heaps of money. And de'il a bit odds if you've ne'er been at schuil.
The Lams of Corel Dence tek tbe clock! elick-clackin' sae Ay in a body's ear, It tells and tells the teyme is past,
When Jobby sud been here. But, whisht! I hear my Jobby's fit; Aye, that's his varra clog! He sleeks the fan) yeat softly tni Oh, hang that cwoley dog f
The Impatient Lame.
If as Mr. Sidney Herbert has informed us this nation be suffering from a glut of femalesif as the commercial editor of the Economist would say, the extreme depression of our matrimonial markets be due to an over-production of spinstersif the annual supply of marriageable young ladies in this country be greater than the demand for the same on tin part of marriageable young gentlemenif virgin loveliness is becoming as cheap as slop shirts in the land, and the market value of heiresses has fallen considerably below their real valueif Cupid is compelled to dispose of the extensive stock he has now on hand of last season's beauties, at an alarming sacrifice," on account of the tremendous failure" of Hymenassuredly the Great Exhibition of all Nations was a wise means of restoring the matrimonial markets of the metropolis to a healthy equilibrium.
When the philogynic mindwhich we take it is a thousand-fold better than the mere philanthropic commodityis led to consider the vast influx of susceptible natures that will occur at that eventful periodwhen we remember that the most eminent statisticians have calculated, that a wave" of a hundred thousand pairs of mus-tachios will be tossed upon our shores every weekwhen we recollect that monster trains, filled with every kind of hairy monster," will deposit, at the London Bridge terminus, their daily thousands of gynolatrous Frenchmen, with very large beards, and very small carpet-bags, together with their hundreds of polygamic Turks, hirsute as handsome, and with turbans as bewitching to the ladies, as that of the black cymbal-player in the Guards,when we reflect, moreover, that as if this superabundance of amatoriness was not a sufficient boon to the "women of England," the Iron Duke had, with a view of creating an embarras de richesse for the ladies, given
orders that an extra body of soldiersall picked menshould be marched up from the country, and bivouacked in the neighbourhood of tbe ladies' schools, embellishing the outskirts of the capitalwhen, too, we call to mind that the active and vigilant Commissioners of Police have, as a grand captivating climax to the whole, come to the noble resolution of adding no less than eight hundred pairs of whiskers to the already strong amatory power of the force,"when, in fine, we come to think upon the turbans of the Turksthe beards of the Frenchmenthe mustachios of the soldiersand the whiskers of the police, that will be all congregated within the Bills of Mortality, into one vast focus of fascination,what maid, what widow shall not be wooedshall not be wonand after all, count herself extremely lucky if she's wed.
While Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys and Miss Elcy sat by the kitchen fire, anxiously awaiting the return of Jobby from the station, or the arrival of some tidings from the telegraph, touching their missing boxes, Major Oldschool was in the parlour, wondering when he should have any news as to the whereabouts of that ungrateful young hussy," his niece, who, after he had sent for her home from Miss Wewitx's establishment at Wimbledon, had returned his kindness by going off with a foreign Count, with a beard like a Scotchman's philibeg, and a portmanteau not much bigger than a sandwich-box. However, he had given information to the police, and a couple of their most active officers had been despatched after the fugitives.
At this juncture, one of the Detective Force called at Mrs. Fokesell's, to apprise the Major that they had already tracked the runaway Miss. The maid went out into the area to answer the knock and learn the business of the visitor. In a few minutes she returned, saying, it was a strange kind of a man, and that he had a strange kind of a way with him, and had whispered something to her down the railings that he wanted to see a gentleman about "summat as was missing."
The Sandboys no sooner heard this, than they, one and all, started from their seats, declaring it was the man from the telegraph with news of poor Psyche and their boxes.
The maid was despatched with directions to bring the messenger down into the kitchen immediately, and in a minute a pair of heavy boots were heard descending the stairs.
' Tha's come about that thar baggage of ourn, haistat" inquired Mr. Cursty.
The term "baggage" was quite sufficient to assure the Detective that he was in the presence of the gentleman whose female relative had eloped with the foreign Count
Yes, sir; we've got some clue as to what you allude towe've discovered their whereabouts, at least"and the cautious and myste-terious Officer winked his eye, and nodded his head knowingly.
" Oh, thar's a guid man! a guid man 1" cried Mrs. Sandboys, with extreme joy. So tha'st heard on t'things at last."
1851 ; OB, TBE ADVENTURES OF
" True, ma'am," replied the Officer, when last we heard onyou knowthe things"and he winked again" they wasn't a hundred miles from"and here he looked cautiously round the room, and added in a whisper" Qretna Qreen, ma'am."
" Gertna Gern!" exclaimed Mr. Cursty; whar on yerth be that?"
"Why, I should think it's about, as near as may be, three hundred and fifty miles," added the Detective, nodding his head knowingly, from where you're a sitting on."
"Waistoma! waistoma! we shall set e'en on t'things never nae ruair," shouted Mrs. Sandboys, wringing her hands, as she thought of the changeless" state of the family.
"And my poor pet! oh, dear!" interjected Elcy.
Mr. Christopher inquired whether they were in safe custody.
" Why, no, sir, we can't say as how we've got 'em in custody, yet. You see its rayther nasty work making mistakes in matters of thiskind."
" Then wha in t' neame of guidness had got how'd of t' guids," asked the wife, in a half-frantic state of alarm.
" Oh, you needn't be under no fears, ma'am; its the same foreign party," returned the officer, with another familiar jerk of his head, as bolted from London with the bit of goods,' as you says, ma'am." And here he gave another wink.
"Oh, then it be as I 'spected, Cursty," added Mrs. S., "and I suddent wonder but t" nasty, filthy wretch has got on, at this verra teyme, yen of t' new shirts I bought thee."
"And what ever will become of my poor, poor pet?" ejaculated Elcy, with tears in her eyes, for she could think of nothing else but Psyche. "You don't happen to knowdo you, sirwhether that horrid, horrid foreigner is treating the dear thing well, and whether he gives her plenty to eat?"
" Why, for tbe matter of that, Miss, I think the party a'nt got over much for hisself," and as if the information was very important, the Detective nodded and winked at the young lady several times in succession.
" Ah, I thought it would be so," sobbed the young lady, bursting into a flood of tears, and after all the pains I had taken to fatten the darling. Perhaps you might have heard whether that brute of a foreign gentleman, sir, allowed the dear to continue her flannel jackets; for if he's only made her leave them off, I'm sure the poor creature must have shivered herself all to pieces by this time.
"Indeed, ma'ami" exclaimed the astonished Detective, who began to think, from Elcy's description, that the missing young lady couldn't be much of a beautyand, like the gallant members of the force, he flattered himself he was a bit of a judge that way; then, as he heard the broken-hearted girl sob aloud at the thoughts of the sufferings and appearance of her darling Psyche, he said to Mr. Sandboys, "The young lady seems to have been wery much attached to t'other one, sir?"
"Oh, yes," replied Mrs. Sandboys, "she a'ways wud hev her to sleep at t' fut of her bed, even though I set mey feace again it, lest there might be a few stray fleas about t' creatur', you ken."
The Detective stared with astonishment, and began to think that the family were all very strange. However, it was easy to tell by their conversation that they were fresh from the country, and that, in his mind, made allowance for a great deal. If he had not felt convinced, however, that he had made no mistake in the number of the house, he might have had some slight suspicion as to his blunder, but as it was, he attributed the peculiar character of their conversation to an ignorance of London ways and manners.
" Oh, sir," Elcy broke out again," dopray, do, sirtry and get my poor, poor pet back for me."
" Well, Miss, I think we shall be able to oblige yon by and by," returned the officer, twiddling his bushy whiskers with self-satisfaction; I came to tell you"
" That we had just had news up by telegraph from one of our men down in the North, that she was seen yesterday in company with a queer-kind of a foreign gentlemanthe same party, from all as I can learn, as ran away with herthat is to say, if the description we've got is correct. It says here,"and he drew from his pocket a paper, which he began reading,'femalesmall and elegant figure.'"
"Yes, sir; yes, sir!" interrupted the anxious Elcy. She was an Italian, sir; and one of the most perfect animals ever seen, sir.'*
" Well, my instructions don't say nothing, Miss, about her being of Italian extraction; but if she came from that there country, it's quite sufficient to account for her being what you says, Miss. But my adwices runs merely'femalesmall and elegant figure,'" continued the officer, reading.
" Wheyte reet," interrupted Cursty.
" Bayther fresh colour," added the Detective.
" Yes, sir, we used to call her foxyand she had one of the most beautiful coats of her own you ever saw."
" No, there ain't a word here about her having any kind of a coat. But I know, Miss; you means one of them there kind of hairy coats we sees the females in Regent Street in, now-a-days."
" And what was very remarkable about her, sir," continued Elcy, intent upon the perfections of her lost pet, was her noseit was a beauty, I do assure youso long and sharp, and then always so nice and cold, even in the height of summer."
The Detective could not help smiling at the country girl's idea of a beautiful nose, and again referring to his paper, said, half to himself, They've got it down here as Grecian, but I suppose that'll do."
" Then again, sir, she had one of the smallest waists, and, I really think, the very thinnest legs you could see anywhere."
The Policeman started with wonder at what he thought the young lady's extreme simplicity, and merely observed, Our people don't say nothing about her legs, Miss;" then, turning to Mr. Sandboys, he inquired whether he had ever known the Italian to go astray before. Why, noa," returned Cursty; I never kenned her run after owt,
with t' exception of a young hare yence, as she fell in wi', down Buttermere way."
"Ah, that's what they'll all do," observed the Policeman; they are all ready enough to run after the young heirs, sir, in town and country, too," he added, smiling at his self-conceited severity on the sex; and them Italians, I'm told, sir, is shocking warm-blooded creatures."
"Warm-blooded!" echoed Cursty; "I'se sure, she always seemed cold enough wi' us, for she were sheevering and shocking away from mworning tull neet, for aw the warl' as if she was a loomp of penter's seyze, (painter's size.) But they be ongracious things to kip; food seems aw thwora away on 'em"
"Yes!" said Mrs. Sandboys, indignantly, "though I lowanced her as much as twa pennywuth of meat every day, forby aw the screps from our tebble, she never did yen onny justice. If yen had hawf starved her, she cuddent a bin mair thin than she were."
The larder-loving Policeman could not help thinking to himself that the allowance was far from being anything to brag about, nor was he much astonished, now that he was made acquainted with tbe diet she had been used to, at the disappearance of the imaginary young lady.
" If it wer'n't for puir Elcy, here, I meysel suddent car' sa varra much if t' creature never kem back nae mair, for there be ant much 'flection in them thar Italians. Now it were on'y last year, she'd twa young ones."
The Detective started back with astonishment, and began to think that such a circumstance fully accounted for the party" having gone off with the French gentleman on the present occasion.
" Yes, it's a fact, she had twa young ones, and didn't sim to car' a bit when I drowned them baith in our pond."
The Policeman no sooner heard the confession of what he believed to be a case of infanticide, than he exclaimed Did I understand you, sir, that youyou yourself drowned the poor little things P
" Yes," continued the innocent Sandboys, I thowt she wuddent be yable to 'tend to them, you ken; so, for her seek, I 'termined on putting them out of t' way as whietly as I cud."
The Detective here assumed a solemn tone, and proceeded to caution Mr. Sandboys after the custom of his craft, telling him that he was not called upon to criminate himself, and that whatever he might say on the painful subject would be used in evidence against him on a future occasion.
It was now Mr. Sandboys' turn to stare with the same astonishment at the Detective, as the "man of peace" had a few moments before looked at him.
" What dost tba mean, man, by t' painful subject, and yens words being yused in yevidence against yen I" he hastily inquired.
The Policeman made no more ado, but straightway drew his staff from his hinder pocket, and told Cursty that he arrested him and the whole family in the Queen's name; and, to give additional weight to the announcement, he added, that he was a Detective Officer, in connexion with her Majesty's Metropolitan Police.
The words wore no sooner out of "the Authority's" mouth than Mr. Sandboys, vividly remembering his railway adventure with a pseudo member of the same respectable body, seized the kitchen poker, which happened to be in the fire at that moment, and, without a word, proceeded, with it in his hand, to chase the startled Official round the kitchen table; but finding it impossible to get within arm's length of the Policeman while that article of furniture stood between them, Cursty stopped, after a few turns, and placed himself before the doorway, with the red-hot weapon still in his hand, and vowed that the Detective should not leave the house until he had given him in charge. Mr. Sandboys told him he had been taken in by that detective trick once before; and though he and his family might be fresh up from the country, and the Londoners might think they could impose upon them as they pleased, still he'd let them see he was a match for them, this time, for aw that."
The self-possessed policeman, finding himself imprisoned, stepped back a few paces ; and, drawing his rattle from his coat-pocket, proceeded to spring it with all his force in the middle of the kitchen, amid the shrieks of Mrs. and Miss Sandboys.
In a minute down came the lodgers of all nations," in ready answer to the summons; and scarcely had the whir-r" finished, before the kitchen was filled with the drawing-rooms," the second and third floors," and the garrets from every quarter of the globe; and among the number was Mr. Quinine, who was heard to declare that the sudden alarm had thrown Mrs. Quinine backit was impossible for him to say to what extent
Then, of course, came the humiliating explanation in the presence of the assembled multitude; and there, amidst the laughter of all nations,"for the foreigners, one and all, would have the circumstance translated to them,Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys had to make known the whole of the mistake, and to tell how Cursty was about to be taken into custody on a charge of infanticide, for having drowned a couple of puppies. By the time he had finished what theatrical critics term the eclaircissement of the contretemps," a body of police, attracted to the spot by the well-known buzz of a distant rattle, swarmed round the door like blue-bottles round a butcher's shop, and there they kept dabbing at the knocker, very much after the same persevering manner as belongs to beadles accompanying the parish engine to a chimney on fire.
As we said before, while the Sandboys were in the kitchen, anxiously looking for some tidings touching their luggage, Major Oldschool was, immediately overhead, impatiently pacing the parlour, and vowing all manner of vengeance against his niece for having gone off with a dirty, beggarly, skinny vagabond of a Frenchman." The Major was what is termed a good hater" of foreigners.
Major Oldschool was a portly little man, who had left one of his legs behind him in India, where the better part of his life had been spent, and where, while attacking one of the bamboo forts of the
Burmese, he had been wounded in his knee-cap in such a manner as to necessitate the amputation of the limb. In figure he was far from commanding; for the high living of India had given him so strong a tendency to corpulence, that he had lost sight of his boot for many years. This obesity was a great annoyance to the Major, and, to keep his fat within due bounds, his braided blue surtout was made to fit so tight, that you could not help fancying but that, with the slightest puncture, he would shrivel up to a mere bit of skin, like an India-rubber ball. Major Oldschool, withal, had that highly respectable" appearance which invariably accompanies the white hair so peculiar to Bankers, Capitalists, and Pomeranian dogs. It was the Major's continual boast, that he was grey before he was thirty; and so proud was he of his silver locks, that he wore them half over his face, in the form of whiskers and moustachios, which met at the corners of his mouth, and gave him very much the look of a gentleman who had been called away in the middle of shaving, and had the lather still clinging about his lips and cheeks.
Another striking peculiarity of the Major was, that he would wear tight black stocking-net pantaloons, and a Hessian bootfor the place of the other boot, ever since he had been wounded, was supplied by a wooden leg. And it sounded not a little strange to hear him, as the night drew in, call for his slipper, or, if he fancied he had taken cold, talk of putting bis foot in hot water; and equally curious was it when his old houskeeper informed him that really his leg was getting so shabby, he must have it fresh painted. In his bedroom, against the wall, stood a range of old boots and shoesall rights and no leftsone Hessian, one dancing-pump, and one carpet slipper; and when he sat down in his chair, his wooden leg stuck out at right angles to his Hessian boot, so that it had somewhat the appearance of a gun protruding from a ship's side.
The Major had no fixed residence, (he had to come up from Bath within the last few weeks, to be present at the opening of the Great Exhibition,) but continually floated about the country in the company of an old housekeeper, who knowing all his ways, and all his whims, had grown to be quite indispensable to him. Mrs. Coddle was the lady of a defunct twopenny-postman, and since the death of the respected twopenny, she had "took to nussing;" but not liking the dormitory accommodations usual in "the monthly line," she had been only too glad to avail herself of the Major's offer, after having attended him during a severe bilious fever, to continue in his service in the capacity of housekeeper. And so effectually had she performed her duties, and so necessary had she made herself to his comfort, during her short residence with him in that capacity, thathaving a true sense of her value to himshe always made a point, when she could not get the Major to do just as she pleased, of threatening to leave him, saying she could see plainly she was not wanted, and that he could do well enough without her now; and adding, as she wiped her eyes with the corner of her white apron, that it might be a severe struggle for her to leave so kind a master as he'd always been to her, but, at least she'd have the
MB. AND MRS. CUBSTY SANDBOYS.
satisfaction of knowing, when she was gone, that she wouldn't be a wherreting on him then, no longer.
Mrs. Coddle was a particularly clean-looking, motherly body. She wore the whitest of caps, with very deep borders, and the cleanest of aprons, while her cotton gowns were of the neatest of patterns; and though she was close upon sixty, her cheeks were almost as rosy as baking apples. To do her justice, she certainly was a mightily pleasant old dame to look at, and she was just one of those persons who, by saving a gentleman every kind of trouble in life, and seeing that he has not to make the least exertion to gratify a single want, manage to beget such a habit of indolence and dependence in those upon whom they attend, that their excess of servitude soon gets to assume the character of the greatest tyranny.
It was the especial care of Mrs. Coddle that the Major should not be able to stir his foot, or know where to lay his hands upon the least article of his own property, without first consulting hernot that she ever allowed him, indeed, to want for anything that he was in the habit of requiring. His clean linen, well-aired, and his one sock turned down, were always ready for him to put on, the morning they were dueand sever, since she had been in the house, had a button been known to be missing, or to come off in the operation of dressing. His pipe was on the table ready filled for him, so that he' could put it in his mouth the very moment he had finished his breakfast. When he was ready to take his morning walk, there was his hat well brushed, and a clean pair of buckskin gloves, resting on the brim and when he returned, the bootjack was on the rug, and his slipper nice and warm, inside the fender, so that he might not suffer from a damp foot. She never troubled him about what he would have for dinner, for having made herself acquainted with all his little likings and dis-likings, she knew well what to provide, and how to tickle his palate with a daily change, or to give an extra relish to the meal with some agreeable surprise; indeed, it was a creed with heras with most ladiesthat all men were pigs, and that, like their brother animals at the Zoological Gardens, the only way to prevent them being savage was to feed them well. And certainly, it must be confessed, that the Major, like corpulent gentlemen in general, was particularly fond of what is termed the fat of the land."
At night Mrs. Coddle brewed his toddy for him, and knew exactly the point in the glass up to which to pour the spirit; and when he had taken his three tumblers, there stood his bed candlestick at his elbow, to light him to his room; while on his pillow were his nightcap and night-shirt, ready for him to put on, with the least possible trouble, and when the bell sounded to tell Mrs. Coddle that the Major was in bed, the motherly old dame would come and take his candlelight his rushlightand see whether he was quite comfortable, before leaving him for the night
Mrs. Coddle, moreover, made herself useful to her master as a kind of invisible mistress of the ceremonies. Major Oldschool's long absence from England, and the alteration of many of the points of politeness, since he was a blood upon town," placed the officer in considerable
id mlit as to how he ought to behave in the presence of company. Mrs. Coddle had "nussed," to use the lady's own words, in tbe fust of families," for her connexion, as she said, being only among carriage people, she had helped to bring no less than four cornets into the world in her time, and, she was happy to say, as there weren't one child among all her babbies (she had, in her own peculiar language, had as many as nine confinements every year since poor dear Mr. Coddle's death), she was happy to say, as "there wasn't one child of her nussing what could be called wulgar born." Accordingly, Mrs. Coddle considered herself so well versed in all the social etiquette of the day, that she acted in tbe capacity of fashionable governess to the Major, paying particular attention to his manners," and taking care that he made what she termed no holes in 'em afore wisitors." If the Major had a friend to tea with him, she was continually bobbing in and out of the room, with some excuse or other, just to see how he was behaving hisself;" and as she passed behind his chair, she would whisper in his ear, "Don't drink your tea out of your sarcer,you know I told you scores of times it aint per-lite." At dinner, while waiting upon him, she would say at one moment, as she saw him commit one after another the several little improprieties of the table, There you are again, eating your fish with your knifehow often am I to tell you it's wulgar?" at another, she would exclaim, Now, Major, why will you keep scraping your plate round and round in that there manner, when if there's one thing that is more ongenteeler than another, that's it;" then as she saw him about to lift the glass to his lips, she would take hold of his arm, and beg of him to swallow his victuals" first, saying, he had a dreadful habit of drinking with his mouth full, and that was the most wulgarest trick of all the tricks he had.
Now, while the scene previously described was going on down stairs in the kitchen, another single knock came" to the door. It was one of the undcr-clerks from the railway station who had just stepped on" to inform the gentleman from the country that his boxes had come safely to hand The Official, however, had no time to deliver his message ; for the Major, who occupied the parlours, and who had just returned from his morning's walk, overhearing some one in the passage say that he had come about something that was missing, popped his white head out of the parlour door, and making sure that some clue had been obtained to his runaway niece, requested the young man to step that way.
"So, I suppose you've come to tell me, you're got hold of that precious baggage ot mine at last, eh?" said the Major, as he paced up and down the room with delight, and made the floor shake again with the tread of his wooden leg.
" Yes, sir; they was bwought up by the fust twain this morning, sir," said the little gent, as he sucked the horse's hoof that did duty for a handle to his short stick. "And a ware lot you have, sir!" added the young man, smiling, half in joke, at recollection of tbe three-and-t wenty packages.
" Ah! a rare lot, indeed!" returned the Major, between his teeth, as
he sighed, and thought of the disgrace brought upon the family by the conduct of his niece. Never was such a lot, I think."
" Why, certingly, air," replied the fast" young clerk, who thought it spicy" not to be able to sound the r's properly, it ain't the wegu-lar caper, certingly. But your lady, like the west of them, sir, pewaps likes to twavel well pewided. You know, sir, when they're coming up to the metwopolis, the ladies always will have a change or two."
" A change or two! hang me, if I don't think they're always changing !" exclaimed the Major, alluding to the inconstancy rather than the love of dress, which even the advocates of the rights of women" allow to be a distinguishing feature of the sex. Now, I shouldn't wonder but what, with all these foreigners here, you have many < missing' cases at your place 1"
" Oh, sir, vewy many cases missing, indeed; and some of 'em woth a good sum. Why, there was one wun off with, the other day, chock full of jewels, sir," added the communicative little clerk, who was delighted to show off his importance.
" I don't doubt you, my good sir; those foreign beggars are devils after the tin," returned the French-hating Major.
" Oh, yes, most of the missing cases with us are tin cases, I can assure you, sir; the others, sir, are hardly worth the fellows looking after, you know; and the worst of it is, sir, that fwequently they bweak their heads, and plunder them of all that's valuable belonging to 'em; and then, maybe, they chuck 'em into the first river they come to."
" Bless my soul, you don't say bo 1" cried the horrified Major; "and these things going on about us in the nineteenth century!"
" But you need be under no alarm about your lot, sir; we've looked well to 'em, and seen that they're pwoperly secured."
" Well, come, that's rightthat's some little consolation, at any rate," exclaimed Major Oldschool, rubbing his hands.
" Yes, sir," proceeded the loquacious railway clerk, we've had the biggest done up in stout cords'cause we were watber afwaid of him, on account of his twemendous size and weight."
" Oh, indeed! What, he's one of your big heavy fellows, is hot and covered with hair, of courser
The railway official, fancying the Major referred to one of the boxes, replied, glibly, A wegular hair twunk, sir, and no mistake 1"
" Well, I only hope you'll keep the foreign puppy tied up safe, until I can give him in charge to those who will take good care of him, I warrant," remarked the Major, still referring to the mustachioed Count.
The clerk, however, took the word puppy in its literal sense, and alluding to the greyhound, said
" Don't make yourself uneasy on that score, sir; we've got a cord wound the animal's neck, and its quite impossible for the cweature to get away. We've given him some bwead and water, sir, so that he wont hurt for a little while."
"That's all right, then," responded Major Oldschool; "bread and water's quite good enough for him."
185J: OR. THE ADVENTURES OF
" I can assure you, sir, he's considered such a handsome dog by all the ladies as has seen iiim since his awival, that it's been as much as we could do to get some of them away fwom him, for they, one and all, declare that he's the most beautiful Italian they've ever beheld, and that they've half a mind to wun away with the pet."
"Well," exclaimed the Major, "hang me if I can see what the women can find to admire in the filthy hairy brutes."
f They say, sir," replied the official, "he's so wemarkably elegant, and such a beautiful foxy colour. A lady of title, I can assure you, sir, told me this vewy morning, that if the beautiful dog was hers, the pet should have nothing but chickens to eat, because meat, she said, always made their bweath foul."
Here the Major raved and stormed against the fair sex in general, and his niece in particular, in such a manner as made the youthful Official stare again in wonder, at the apparent unmeaningness of his conduct
When the gentleman had grown a little calm, the clerk ventured, before taking his leave, to say he was instructed to wequest him to send for that baggage of his as soon as possible.
Now, the Major, however irate he might have felt against his runaway niece, was in no way inclined to permit a stranger to apply such a term to a female member of his family. The consequence was, that the words were no sooner uttered, than the exasperated soldier rushed at the terrified young clerk, and shaking him violently by the collar, demanded to know what he meant by baggage."
The youth was only able to stammer out that he alluded to his "heap," up at their place.
The term "heap," applied to a lady, only served to increase the fury of the Major; so releasing his hold of the young gentleman's collar, he proceeded to kick him round and round the room with his wooden leg.
At this moment, the sound of the policeman's rattle, and the shrieks of the ladies, were heard from below, and the astonished Major stood for a minute with his wooden leg suspended horizontally in the air, while the terrified young clerk for an instant ceased to fly before the enraged "man of war." The Major, forgetting his anger in the alarm, hurried down stairs as fast as his wooden leg would carry him; while the little railway official no sooner saw the Major turn the corner of the kitchen stairs, than he retreated rapidly to the street-door, and once safely on the step, proceeded to make the best use of his heels.
The neighbouring policeman, however, who, in answer to the sound of the rattle, came streaming in all directions towards the spot, observing the youth flying from the premises, and naturally viewing the circumstance as of a most suspicious character, raised a cry of "Stop thief!" and gave immediate chase to the terrified little Clerk. For a minute, the railway hobbledehoy was undecided as to his course of action. As he scampered along, he knew not what to do; to go back was to brave the terrors of the Major's wooden legwhile to proceed, was to be hunted through the London streets as a pick-
pocket. However, hU mind was soon made up, for seeing in the distance a fashionably dressed young lady, whose acquaintance he had made at Cremorne, he could not bring himself to pass her at full speed, with a crowd at his heels, so he turned back and ran into the arms of the posterior policeman, by whom he was instantly collared, and dragged towards the house he had left, with a crowd of boys in his wake.
The scene that followed has already been half described. The explosion of the double-barrelled blunder was soon over; and then the little railway clerk was welcomed by the Sandboys as heartily as he had been kicked by the Major, while the Detective was as well received by the Major, as he had been insulted by the Sandboys.
"Ob, nun! oh, man! what pity'lis. That what we whop our heeghest bliaa Sud disappoint us; nay, what's worse, See oft turns out a real curse. It shows man'a want o' fworeseeght truly, In not consideran' matters duly/'
The delight of the Sandboys at the recovery of their luggage was not altogether unbroken. If Mrs. Cursty was overjoyed at the prospect of a change of linen," still her joy was considerably alloyed with fear at the continued absence of her dear Jobby. If Elcy rejoiced exceedingly at the discovery of her pet Psyche, she was, nevertheless, deeply afflicted at the thought of some misfortune having befallen her brother.
The same family consultation as had been previously held concerning the discovery of the missing luggage was now renewed, as to the best mode of finding the absent boy. Mrs. Sandboys requested to know whether she couldn't have him cried.
Cursty, however, was for putting an advertisement in the Timet such as that newspaper-loving gentleman had seen continually in the same column of the leading journal, running
" IF this should meet the eye of J. S., of buttebmeke,
he is requested to return to his disconsolate parents immediately."
But Mrs. Fokesell suggested that, according to all accounts, the boy would be but too glad to come back directly, if he only knew the way.
This was more than the philosophy of Mr. Sandboys had calculated for. He saw the force of tbe argument, and, consequently, modified his plan of action into a proposal to have a hundred or two of bills printed, headed
"MissingA Youno Gentleman,"
And, after giving a full and flattering description of the lad, to wind up by announcing that any one who should bring him to Mrs. Fokesell's house, should be handsomely rewarded for their trouble.
The latter proposition being considered to be unobjectionable by Mrs. Fokesell, Postlethwaite was bad in, and the copy of the wished-for bill having been written out, amidst considerable altercation on Mrs. Sandboy's part as to the personal characteristics of the youth, the deaf serving-man was, after much shouting, made to understand that he was to take the document to a printer's in an adjoining street, and leave it there with the note that Elcy, to prevent accidents, had written to the head of the establishment, requesting him to have the bills printed and circulated throughout the metropolis, with as little delay as possible.
Postlethwaite was again shouted at so as to make him understand the road he had to follow; but from the odd jumble that, owing to his imperfect hearing, he made of the names of the different streets, it was deemed advisable that the several turnings he had to take, and the names of the various thoroughfares he had to traverse, should be written down for him, and then he could make no blunder.
The list having been prepared, the poor deaf man was started on his errand. But no sooner did the wretched individual emerge into the Strand, than the crowd and hurry of the dense throng that streamed along, half in one direction and half in another, so bewildered him, that, as he stood to look at the names of the streets, he was twisted round and round, first this way and then the other, by the impatient passengers; so that, what with the novelty of the scene he felt at the sight of so many vehicles whose approach he knew he could not hear, and what with the jostlings of the people, and the vertigo superinduced by the continual gyrations that he was forced to make by the crowd, the poor man got so confused in his mind, that in a few minutes it was impossible for him to tell which way he had come or whither he was going, and the consequence was that, with the best possible desire to go right, he proceeded in the very opposite direction to that which he had been instructed to follow.
It was useless for the poor deaf beetle-like countryman to ask his way of any of the strangers; for even in the stillness of home it required the lungs of a Surrey tragedian to make him comprehend what was said; but, amid all the roar of the commercial tide of London, it was sheer waste of breath to endeavour to make the least impression on his leathery tympanum. Moreover, like the generality of people who are a little" hard of hearing, he was so eager to hide his infirmity, and to put those addressing him to as little extra trouble as possible, that he was always ready to catch at half a meaning, and consequently, from some faint analogy in the sound, was continually putting constructions on what was said that were diametrically different from what was intended.
Hence it was but natural, when poor Postlethwaite requested of the passers-by to be put in the right way towards his destination, that he